Preventive steps can control non-communicable diseases: WHO

Pic Courtesy:

New Delhi: Many young people are succumbing to non-communicable diseases in south-east Asia and the best way to control it is to take preventive steps like reducing salt intake and raising taxes on tobacco, the WHO said Monday.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases, are the world's most common, causing two out of every three deaths globally.

NCDs kill 8.5 million people annually in south-east Asian regions. Of these, 4.2 million deaths are considered premature.

In order to achieve the targets, the World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasized the importance of implementing evidence-based, cost-effective interventions - the "Best Buys" - to prevent and control NCDs.

"Some examples of 'Best Buy' interventions for the prevention and control of NCDs include raising tax on tobacco and alcohol products, reducing salt consumption, eliminating trans-fat in the food supply chain, promoting physical activity and detecting and treating NCDs at an early stage," said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director for WHO south-east Asia.

"Wide-scale implementation of these 'Best Buys' requires coordinated action. Ministries of health and non-health ministries - such as finance, transport, sports, education, agriculture, and food safety, among others - must work together. This requires the highest level of political commitment, resolve and response," said Khetrapal Singh.

The WHO is supporting countries to adopt the "whole-of-government" and "whole-of-society" approaches to combat NCDs, because working together is our "best buy" for a healthier future, she said in a statement.

The WHO is highlighting this pressing need to forge and strengthen multi-sectoral partnerships to curb the rising burden of NCDs by bringing together policy makers and health experts from 11 member states of the south Asia at a regional consultation in Bangalore Aug 18-20.