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The next health tsunami: Noncommunicable diseases
Date:7/8/2009

GENEVA, Switzerland, 8 July 2009 - The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and the World Heart Federation (WHF) called today on the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to take immediate action to avert the fastest growing threat by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to global health.

NCDs which include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory disease, cause 60% of all deaths globally and 80% of these are in low- and middle-income countries. WHO projects that globally NCD deaths will increase by 17% over the next 10 years. The greatest increase will be seen in the African region (27%) and the Eastern Mediterranean region (25%). The highest absolute number of deaths will occur in the W. Pacific and S.E. Asia regions.

The global call, issued by the three organizations at the meeting of the UN ECOSOC in Geneva, demands five essential actions:

  1. Call for an 'MDG Plus' containing NCD progress indicators in the 2010 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) review
  2. Support the availability of essential medicines for people living with NCDs
  3. Support a UN General Assembly Special Session on NCDs
  4. Support the immediate and substantial increase of funding for NCDs
  5. Integrate NCD prevention into national health systems and the global development agenda

The UN MDGs state that health is critical to the economic, political and social development of all countries, yet they contain no goals or targets for NCDs, which are the largest threat to health systems.

Public health experts are expecting ECOSOC leaders to show the way in confronting this health crisis faced by millions. The emerging epidemic of NCDs is threatening to overwhelm healthcare systems worldwide unless action is taken.

"This tsunami didn't arise yesterday; it evolved over time and is getting worse. We need a revolution to change the trajectory if we
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Contact: Kerrita McClaughlyn
media@idf.org
322-543-1639
International Diabetes Federation
Source:Eurekalert

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