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Leading NGOs call for international action to combat epidemic of noncommunicable diseases
Date:5/19/2009

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 19, 2009 The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and World Heart Federation (WHF) today issued a joint statement that calls on the international community to address urgently the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), responsible for 35 million deaths a year. The statement demands a substantial increase in funding for NCDs and greater availability of essential medicines, among other urgent responses, in a way to accelerate achievement of the health Millennium Development Goals.

Public health experts are concerned about the impact of the global economic crisis and warn that the emerging epidemic of NCDs is threatening to overwhelm healthcare systems worldwide unless action is taken. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases cause 60% of all deaths worldwide, with four in every five of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. NCDs are an under-appreciated cause of poverty and now present a serious barrier to economic development. They are estimated to reduce gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 5% in many low- and middle-income countries, dealing a double blow to fragile economies struggling in the global recession.

Professor Pekka Puska, President of the World Heart Federation states: "We can no longer ignore the burden that cardiovascular disease, together with the other NCDs including diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, is placing on countries that are least equipped to deal with them. We urgently call on the international community to ensure that the funding models applied to infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria are expanded to stop the spiralling death rates from NCDs before the most vulnerable are pushed further into the poverty trap."

NCDs impact on the world

IDF, WHF and UICC are united by their concern with the consequences of physical inactivity, tobacc
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Contact: Kerrita McClaughlyn
media@idf.org
32-487-530-625
International Diabetes Federation
Source:Eurekalert

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