The WHO has recognized that non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, cancers, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and common injuries cause a high percentage of deaths globally. However as they are not yet included as priorities in the global development agenda, donors and international organizations have yet to pledge support to help developing countries address these leading health problems.
As the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meets in Geneva this week to focus on global public health commitments, many health and development leaders will call upon the international development community to integrate indicators on non-communicable diseases and injuries into the core Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) monitoring and evaluation system.
To support these efforts, the World Health Organization (WHO) today announced the launch of a network of leading organizations and experts from around the world. The network will scale up action to combat non-communicable diseases, strengthen global partnerships and help governments plan and implement measures to reduce the burden of these diseases.
The new Global Non-communicable Disease Network (NCDnet) will unite currently fragmented efforts by bringing the cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes and respiratory communities together with tobacco control, healthy diets, and physical activity advocates.
"Integrating the prevention of non-communicable diseases and injuries into the national and global development agendas is not only achievable but also a priority for developing countries," said Dr. Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health, WHO.
"The goals of the new network are to increase focus on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, to increase resource availability and to catalyze effective multi-stakeholder action at global and country levels."
Strengthened by the support of the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and leading NGOs such as the World Heart Federation, the International Diabetes Federation and the International Union against Cancer, NCDnet will advocate for action to raise the priority accorded to non-communicable diseases in development work at global and national levels.
"Non-communicable diseases are a serious threat to global well-being," said Richard Samans, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum.
"They present a growing economic and social challenge for many developed and developing countries.
At the World Economic Forum we are committed to working with WHO, and in collaboration with other international partners, to build an effective Global Non-communicable Disease Network."