Today, at the launch of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Non Communicable Disease Country Profiles (NCDs) 2014, Dr. Margaret Chan delivered an opening remark paying tribute to all countries for their determination to control NCDs, and adopted the 2011 UN Political Declaration. She released the NCD Country Profiles 2014, which provides an updated overview of the NCD situation in 194 countries. The report illustrated that while many countries have started to align their policies and resources with the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020, progress in countries has been insufficient and highly uneven, with the risk factors of tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol doubling from 2011 to 2013. Dr. Chan called for bolder and more urgent action to accelerate efforts to address NCDs. Furthermore, she addressed obese children as “warning signals” as they signify a future of chronically ill adults, and unbearable financial burdens on healthcare services.
Following, Dr. Natsag spoke about the introduction of an early cancer detection programme in her country, Mongolia. She further highlighted that there is almost 100% full primary health care coverage for the people of Mongolia.
Next, Dr. Oyarzun talked about the recently enacted laws in Chile on prohibiting the use of tobacco in specific open spaces, against driving under the influence of alcohol, and laws on monitoring the fast food market to address obesity. He claimed the laws against drinking and driving were fairly successful. Yet, he saw room for improvement concerning tobacco consumption, and he urged for the transformation of social norms.
Dr. Sahlawi spoke about the free health services in Kuwait, where the life expectancy of the population has reached 75 years. He addressed NCDs as not merely a health problem, but rather a multi-sectoral issue. It requires the involvement from ministries of health, finance and education.
Dr. Freeman talked about the importance in striking a balance between communicable and non-communicable disease prevention. He mentioned the regulations on salty foods in South Africa, and the role of media in health-education campaigns. Furthermore, approximately 330,000 girls have benefited from the recently introduced HPV vaccine in South Africa.
Meeting Title:Launch of the “World Health Organization Non Communicable Disease Country Profiles 2014”
Speakers: Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, Ms. Natsag Udval, Deputy Minister for Health of Mongolia; Dr. Jamie Burrows Oyarzun, Chile’s Under Secretary of Public Health; Dr. Khaled Al Sahlawi, The Under Secretary Health Minister of Kuwait; Professor Melvin Freeman, Ministry of Health in South Africa; Dr. Johan Carlson, Director-General of the Swedish Public Health Agency
Location: Trusteeship Council, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 10 July 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Tracy Lau
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan