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WHO launches framework to monitor non-communicable diseases

Will measure success of efforts to reduce rates of cancer, diabetes, lung conditions and heart disease

Efforts to reduce rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cancer, diabetes, lung conditions and heart disease, will be monitored using a new framework agreed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the WHO, this framework will be used to prevent and control NCDs, which account for 86 per cent of deaths and 77 per cent of the disease burden in Europe despite a large proportion being preventable.

Three key areas will be covered by the framework, one of which will be the progress made by member states in reducing illness and death associated with NCDS.

The remaining areas to be monitored are the reduction of exposures to the main risk factors for NCDs, such as tobacco use and an unhealthy diet, as well as the response from each country's national health system.

The framework was developed following an agreement at a United Nations (UN) meeting held September 2011, which addressed the increasing prevalence of NCDs due to such risk factors as an ageing global population and more widespread westernised lifestyle of physical inactivity and poor diet.

These concerns had been addressed by several patients groups ahead of last year's UN Summit, with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) calling on the UN to take 'real action' following the release of figures that suggested the number of people living with diabetes across the world in 2011 had reached 366 million.

Previously, several cancer groups comprising the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), released a joint statement calling for the UN to tackle the 'cancer epidemic' in developing countries.

Plans to address these global concerns now seem to be underway, with the WHO describing the launch of the NCD framework as a “step towards the development of a global action plan for 2013–2020”.

The framework includes nine voluntary global targets, using 25 indicators, to be used in monitoring efforts.

The nine targets include ambitions to combat premature mortality; reduce rates of obesity, high blood pressure and tobacco use; and to promote medicines and technologies that combat NCDs.

15th November 2012

From: Research

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