The what, why and how of health and development

WHO agree target to reduce deaths from NCDs by 25%

A resolution to reduce global deaths from non-communicable disease by 25% within 13 years was endorsed by all 194 World Health Organisation Member States at the 65th WHO Assembly last week.

The announcement signals a big step in the fight to reduce the number of deaths from NCDs, many of which are preventable.

Despite accounting for 60% of global deaths, NCDs have received less attention and funding than global health problems such as HIV or malaria, partly because they were not included in the Millennium Development Goals in 2000.

The move was celebrated by NCD Alliance, a group representing over 2000 civil society organisations, which carried out a week of intense lobbying during the Assembly.

Chair of the NCD Alliance and CEO of the International Diabetes Federation Ann Keeling said they were delighted to see this result.

“The adoption of this bold and ambitious target is a landmark event in the fight against NCDs,” she said.

“For the first time all governments will be accountable for progress on NCDs.”

In addition, Member States have committed to reach a consensus before the end of October on additional targets on tobacco, blood pressure, salt reduction and physical activity; and to consider adding further on targets relating to alcohol, obesity, fat intake, cholesterol and health systems responses such as availability of essential medicines for NCDs.

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To find out more about non-communicable diseases and how the campaign has built up to this pivotal point, read my article on NCDs published last year as part of the Guardian’s International Development Journalism competition.

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