March 31, 2023

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Non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer account for nearly three-quarters of deaths worldwide but are often “ignored and neglected” because few understand their true impact, according to a new Report from the World Health Organization, published Wednesday, which calls on countries to tackle the problem with readily available, proven and cost-effective interventions.

Basic information

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are one of the most important public health and development challenges of this century, and inaction kills more people than communicable diseases, the WHO said in the report, which was released at the UN General Assembly in New York.

NCDs are responsible for the premature deaths of nearly 17 million people each year and kill someone under the age of 70 every two seconds, the report said.

The vast majority of these premature deaths, 86%, are in low- and middle-income countries, the report found, and many “could be prevented by investing in proven, cost-effective interventions.” said US billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who is WHO’s ambassador for NCDs.

Although all UN member states have committed to reducing premature deaths from NCDs by a third by 2030 – one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – few countries are on track to achieve this, the report said.

While the risk factors for many NCDs are well understood—tobacco use and unhealthy diets kill more than 8 million people each year, alcohol consumption another 1.7 million, and physical inactivity 830,000, the WHO estimates—the report says little is being done because many only understand the scale of the problem. No.

The agency estimates that at least 39 million NCD deaths could be prevented by 2030 if “every country adopts interventions known to work.”

big number

41 million people. WHO estimates how many people worldwide NCDs kill each year. Cardiovascular disease – a collection of diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels – is the world’s biggest killer and accounts for 17.9 million deaths a year, the report found. Other leading NCDs, some of the world’s top killers, are cancer (9.3 million deaths per year), chronic respiratory diseases (4.1 million) and diabetes (2 million). Beyond death, each NCD can have a huge impact on sufferers’ quality of life and make them more vulnerable to other illnesses. This was illustrated during the Covid-19 pandemic, WHO said, where people living with NCDs faced worse outcomes than those without. Covid has been the third leading cause of death for the past two years behind heart disease and cancer.

Original background

Advances in public health in recent decades have meant that infectious, or communicable, diseases no longer dominate the leading causes of premature death worldwide. The problem, which has been well-known for decades in many rich countries, is now rapidly reaching alarming levels in developing countries China, although these health emergencies are often more hidden than infectious disease outbreaks. The invisible nature of NCDs is illustrated by the fact that they generally do not receive funding and public health efforts commensurate with their impact, despite much more being known about their causes. This is true in all countries, not just the less wealthy, and the report says that all countries can improve. It emphasizes that large gains can be made with relatively small investments in NCD prevention and treatment. “The data paint a clear picture,” the WHO report said. “The problem is that the world isn’t looking at it.”

the tangent

WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency had renewed Bloomberg’s appointment as its global ambassador for NCDs and injuries for another two years. Bloomberg, a billionaire who co-founded financial information and media company Bloomberg LP in 1981 and served 12 years as mayor of New York City, was first appointed to the role in 2016. Later, we saw the critical importance of addressing one of the leading risk factors for COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths – non-communicable diseases,” Bloomberg said. he added.

Forbes assessment

$76.8 billion. That’s an estimated net worth, according to Bloomberg forbes’ Real-time tracker. This makes him the 13th richest person in the world at the time of writing. Bloomberg has donated billions to charity, a large portion of which has gone to initiatives designed to address the risk factors that drive NCDs, such as reduce Tobacco use.

Read more

The invisible numbers: the true scale of non-communicable diseases (WHO)

China’s ‘Hidden Epidemic’: Preventable Diseases That Can Reshape a Nation (parent)

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