New Data Suggest More Than Half of Countries Not on Track to Meet Global NCD Goals
With the third United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on NCDs (noncommunicable diseases) taking place Sept. 27 in New York, new data published Sept. 20 in The Lancet suggest that more than 50 percent of countries are not on target to reduced premature deaths from four major NCDs – cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes – by 2030.
The UN meeting, in which the ACC is taking part, will review progress to date towards the prevention and control of NCDs. The new analysis was conducted by NCD Countdown 2030, a collaboration led by The Lancet, World Health Organization, Imperial College London and NCD Alliance, in advance of the meeting. It compares the change in death rates for 186 countries from 2010 to 2016. It also includes a more comprehensive measure of all NCDs in people aged between birth and 80 years.
Overall results showed NCD mortality decreasing in most countries; however, the pace of decline varied substantially, even among countries in the same region. According to the authors, the majority of the 186 countries assessed will not reach the UN targets by 2014. Among those predicted to not meet the target – China and India – the two most populous countries in the world. In addition, reductions in NCD deaths for both men (24 countries) and women (15 countries) have flatlined or increased since 2010 – among these the U.S. for women.
On the positive side, the study found that 35 countries (19 percent) for women and 30 countries (16 percent) for men are likely to achieve the target. These countries range from high-income countries seeing continued reduction (i.e., Norway, Denmark, South Korea and New Zealand), to middle-income countries starting with high rates and seeing fast declines in NCD mortality (i.e.. Brazil, Iran, Russia and other countries in central and eastern Europe).
Looking ahead, the authors recommend that countries accelerate policies and interventions that reduce tobacco and alcohol use, including fiscal and regulatory measures, such as taxation, warning labels, restriction of availability and sales, and banning of marketing, advertising, and public smoking. They also call for increased focus on early diagnosis and treatment of NCDs, including timely diagnosis and treatment of hypertension, diabetes, treatable cancers, and other acute and chronic NCDs. They note that “substantial progress can only be made through national and multilateral political and financial commitments and strong equitable health systems.”
“Going forward, the NCD Countdown 2030 is a shot in the arm for the global response to the NCD epidemic which has long needed a stronger accountability process,” said Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance, of which the ACC is a partner. “The aspirations and promises of commitments from political leaders made at the meeting are now on notice. Even those governments who appear to be on track cannot be complacent – they must remain vigilant and respond with effective policies to emerging threats to health of the next generation, including child obesity, air pollution and the ever-evolving tactics of the tobacco and alcohol industries.”
ACC President C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, will be part of the team representing the ACC at the UN meeting in New York. Follow @ACCinTouch on Twitter for updates. Learn more about NCDs and the ACC’s global, on-the-ground efforts to educate and train health care professionals to best prevent and treat cardiovascular disease and related risk factors at ACC.org/NCDs.
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