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World falling behind on non-communicable diseases

Friday September 4th 2020

Most of the world is falling behind on promises to tackle chronic and non-communicable diseases – and the COVID-19 pandemic has made this worse, according to a major analysis.

The Lancet describes the two problems as a “syndemic”, increasing social and economic inequalities.

According to its analysis, among wealthy countries Denmark, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and South Korea are on course to meet their targets for 2030. This includes reducing the risk of death before the age of 70 from non-communicable diseases.

Non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and cancer, are responsible for 40 million deaths a year globally.

Professor Majid Ezzati, Professor of Global Environmental Health at Imperial College London, who led the global study, said: "No country can reach that target by simply addressing a single disease - what is needed is a package of measures, a strong health system, which addresses prevention, early detection and treatment, tailored to the national situation.”

The Lancet editorial states: “COVID-19 is a pandemic that must highlight the high burden that NCDs place on health resources. It should act as a catalyst for governments to implement stricter tobacco, alcohol, and sugar controls, as well as focused investment in improving physical activity and healthy diets. COVID-19 has shown that many of the tools required for fighting a pandemic are also those required to fight NCDs: disease surveillance, a strong civil society, robust public health, clear communication, and equitable access to resilient universal health-care systems.

“COVID-19 must stimulate far greater political action to overcome inertia around NCDs."

Lancet 3 September 2020

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31761-X/fulltext

Tags: Asia | Australia | Cancer | Diabetes | Europe | Heart Health | World Health

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