Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Deal with NCD issues

Some countries, including Small Island Developing States, have particular Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) issues to address.

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, believes that support for countries tackling these NCD epidemics must be seen as a broader global responsibility, not only because of the inherent injustice in persisting disparities in health across countries, but also because patterns of globalization and international trade contribute to these inequities.

She was at the time addressing the United Nations High-level Meeting to Undertake the Comprehensive Review and Assessment of the Progress Achieved in the Prevention and Control of NCDs.

“For example, although lower and middle-income countries bear the brunt of NCD mortality, it is often upper income countries which are home to the largest producers and exporters of tobacco and unhealthy foods which contribute to these disease patterns.

“Today, low and middle-income countries are bearing the brunt of NCDs. Therefore, understanding the far-reaching development consequences of this is very important. For example, for lower and middle income countries, economic costs from the four main NCDs [cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes] are predicted to exceed US$7 trillion between 2011 and 2025. This is roughly equivalent to 500 billion US dollars per year, or four per cent of the Gross Domestic Product of low- and middle-income countries in 2010,” she highlighted.

Looking ahead, Clark stressed that it will be critical to understand the changing patterns of NCD distribution, also ensuring that all relevant actors are involved and adequate resources are made available to combat this disease epidemic.

“With respect to disease distribution overall, disparities in health outcomes tend to mirror existing inequalities and inequities within and between countries. This also holds true for NCDs, with the disease burden falling on the most vulnerable and least able to manage the long-term impacts of these diseases,” she added. (TL)

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