A REPORT, investigating the responses to specific assignments in preparation for the third High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of NCDs has been published by the WHO’s Director-General during last week’s 69th World Health Assembly. Annex 3 of the report addresses the progress made in 2015 towards the attainment of the nine voluntary global targets established to globally reduce the NCD burden. Alarmingly, the table shows hardly any progress in reducing overall mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases. The same applies in regard to behavioural risk factors such as the harmful use of alcohol.
The lack of data on the remaining behavioural risk factors including physical inactivity, tobacco use, and salt/sodium intake is similarly concerning. Moreover, data on biological risk factors such as raised blood pressure, diabetes and obesity show the same stagnation and lack of improvement.
The fight against the global NCD disease burden is in dire need of reliable country data to design effective and comprehensive NCD interventions and measure progress. NCDAPA has been consistently addressing the lack of improvement in the areas of behavioural and biological risk factors. The report by WHO Director-General Dr. Chan is yet another warning sign that NCD prevention and data-collection efforts need to be scaled up in order to create a favourable basis for a successful 2018 High-level Meeting.