Prevention and control of NCDs

P1000073Oxford, WHO workshop on the prevention and control of NonCommunicable Diseases

In May 2013, The World Health Assembly endorsed the WHO Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NonCommunicable Diseases (NCDs). The purpose of the workshop, held jointly with the WHO and the University of Oxford’s, Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and Department of Primary Care, aimed to strengthen the capacity for health systems research.

Why are NCDs important to the WHO? It is a simple answer, an estimated 36 million deaths, or 63% of the 57 million deaths in 2008, were due to NCDs.

In terms of the WHO Global strategy; the first initiative relating to NCDs, was set in 2000, at the World Health Assembly. This led initially to the Global Strategy on Diet Activity and Health, followed by the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs. In 2013, The WHO Global Action plan was directly aimed at the prevention and control of NCDs, setting six objectives alongside a number of targets. These targets include a 25% reduction in premature mortality from NCDs, as well as 80% coverage for essential medicines and technologies, with no increase in obesity and diabetes and a 30% reduction in tobacco use. These are stiff targets and are all to be delivered by 2015.

‘The global action plan offers a paradigm shift by providing a road map and a menu of policy options for Member States, WHO, other UN organizations and intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and the private sector which, when implemented collectively between 2013 and 2020, will attain 9 voluntary global targets, including that of a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025.’

The workshop was chaired by Dr. Alison Ward and also by Dr. Shanti Mendis, WHO NCD coordinator, alongside Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr. Rafael Perera.

“The Embedding Health Systems research in NCD programs is the priority for this workshop, countries need to prioritize, population wide prevention, access to interventions, strengthen primary care, set targets, monitor progress and provide reliable surveillance of risk factors all within the setting of health systems research,’ said  Dr. Shanti Mendis, of the WHO.

The global plan provides a road map and a set of actions; the aim of the workshop was to focus on the operational research, which needs to be embedded in NCD research programs in low resources settings. The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine is continuing to work with the WHO on implementing the NCD agenda globally and will be contributing to the Global Action Plan.