Tackling the Global Scourge of Non-communicable Disease

Tackling the Global Scourge of Non-communicable Disease

06.17.11 | By Ken Thorpe

Throughout the world, chronic non-communicable diseases exert a tremendous economic and social burden. The recent World Health Organization Status Report on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) estimates that 63% or 36 million of the 57 million deaths that occurred globally in 2008 were attributable to NCDs , primarily cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases.

The WHO report estimates that 80% of all NCD related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, exerting a burden not only on health care systems but also on the economy as a whole. Nearly one-fourth of global chronic NCD deaths are among people under the age of 60 - premature and preventable deaths within a productive age group.

Health systems around the world have concluded, just as we have in the United States, that chronic non-communicable diseases are exerting a social and economic impact that cannot be ignored. For nearly four years the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) has been working with stakeholders throughout the United States and around the world. We have partnered with business and labor leaders, with patient groups and health care provider organizations, with governments and NGOs to find ways to pursue the best preventions, interventions and innovations to fight chronic disease.

Increasingly, we have been invited by health care leaders and governments in other countries to share with them PFCD's experience and observations and to learn about how we can work together to tackle the global scourge of non-communicable disease.

This June, PFCD will be partnering with the Indonesia Ministry of Health to co-host a high level workshop of stakeholders from a number of countries that are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Indonesia Ministry of Health is showing great leadership by building on the work that was done in March of this year, in Jakarta, at the WHO Regional Meeting on Health and Development Challenges of Non Communicable Diseases. That meeting produced the Jakarta Call to Action which recognizes the impact of chronic communicable diseases and the fact that these diseases can be preventable and manageable.

The Jakarta high level workshop will engage a number of stakeholders from throughout the ASEAN region to discuss and consider preventions, interventions, integrated disease management and innovative partnership approaches to fight chronic diseases in Indonesia and throughout the ASEAN region.

I look forward to an interesting and important discussion in Jakarta on June 21. Follow the meeting on Twitter @PFCDglobal.

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