WHO Member States Adopt First Global Target Aimed at Reducing NCDs

In a historic move, World Health Organization (WHO) Member States formally adopted a resolution reducing preventable deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25 percent by the year 2025 on Saturday, May 26 as part of the 65th World Health Assembly. The Assembly also discussed strengthening NCD policies to promote active ageing, as well as ways to build partnerships outside of the health care sector to prevent premature deaths and reduce exposure to risk factors for NCDs, mainly tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.

"Establishing a target to reduce non-communicable disease by 25 percent is an important goal and a crucial first step," said ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC. "It shows that the world health community recognizes the growing risks to people in both developed and developing worlds." According to Zoghbi, while prevention is essential, it's also important not to forget the millions of people around the world who are already suffering from chronic disease. "These people need access to treatments," he said, "and establishing specific and actionable treatment targets can give them hope."

The NCD Alliance, a global advocacy organization of which the ACC is a partner, had been actively lobbying global leaders attending the assembly to adopt this resolution. The alliance is also advocating for the establishment of nine other targets that address essential aspects of NCD prevention and treatment. These include reductions in: tobacco use, dietary salt intake, hypertension; physical inactivity, obesity; heart attacks and strokes; harmful alcohol consumption; trans-fats in food supplies. Availability of -- and access to --essential medicines and technologies is also key.

Johanna Ralston, NCD Alliance Steering Group Member and CEO of the World Heart Federation, said: “For too long, people around the world have been dying prematurely and unnecessarily from NCDs. These are deaths that are largely preventable, using proven and affordable interventions. We congratulate world leaders for agreeing on this target. It is a major breakthrough and signals to the world that governments will act, monitor progress and deliver change for people with NCDs.”

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