Global body looking for targets adopted for NCD high-level meeting: CARICOM

10:18, June 21, 2011      

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Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly's high level meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) scheduled for September, the global body is looking for " clear achievable targets adopted," said the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Monday who is leading the initiative.

"We are looking for clear achievable targets adopted in relation in the way forward" in the challenges posed by NCDs, said Rodney Charles, Trinidad and Tobago's ambassador to the UN who was speaking on behalf of CARICOM at a press conference on the run-up to the high-level meeting.

Non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector and academia gathered here at UN Headquarters on Monday in a run-up to the high-level meeting on NCDs to be held on Sept. 19-20.

The UN September meeting came as a result of lobby efforts which led to a resolution introduced by CARICOM member states at the UN in May 2010.

NCDs, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases, account for 60 percent of all global deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Some of the critical measures necessary to prevent and control these diseases, such as access to and availability of affordable treatment, medication and technology, would require "global solidarity, cooperation and commitment," Charles urged.

In terms of expected outcomes of the high level meeting, he said it is anticipated that a concept action oriented outcome document will be issued which will reflect a political commitment at the highest level to prevent and control NCDs.

"It is also hoped that as a result of the high level meeting there would be increased awareness of the global burden of NCDs and their implications," he said. "We anticipate a discussion on integrated NCDs into the developmental agenda and provision of technical assistance to assist in establishing further developing programs of prevention and control of these diseases."

"We are looking for clear achievable targets adopted in relation to the way forward in addressing the challenges posed by these diseases," he said.

John Seffrin, CEO of American Cancer Society, warned that NCDs are "projected to rapidly increase and by 2030 they are expected to cause five times as many deaths as communicable diseases worldwide including in low and middle income countries".

"No health problem in the history of the world has ever gone so hidden, misunderstood and under recorded," he said.

WHO forecasts that between 2006 and 2015, deaths from non- communicable diseases will increase worldwide by 17 percent with the greatest increase projected for the African region with 24 percent, followed by the Eastern Mediterranean region with 23 percent.

"NCDs perpetuates the poverty cycle," Seffrin also noted.

"If we can shine a bright light on the problem of NCDs and if we can get an action oriented agenda coming out of the high level meeting, we could get started on solving what will be the 21st century greatest health challenge, namely the problem of non- communicable diseases," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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