Yangon: Aiming to tackle the high occurrence of non-communicable diseases in Southeast Asia, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said here Wednesday that it would expand technical competence and resources in its action plan for the region.
"WHO is exercising a coordination role within the United Nations system in addressing NCDs (non-communicable diseases) and to be more effective in supporting countries. It is expanding technical competence and resources in its action plan on NCDs," Samlee Plianbangchang, regional director for southeast Asia, said at a regional meeting on non-communicable diseases.
The three-day meet that began Wednesday took up the issue of mental health and neurological disorders among non-communicable diseases that contribute to eight million deaths annually in the region.
Non-communicable diseases include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer among others.
"The great concern is that one third of these deaths are premature and and these deaths occur before the age of 60 years in the economically productive groups," Plianbangchang added.
According to experts, the high occurrence of non-communicable diseases is accelerated by factors such as a rapidly ageing population, unplanned urbanisation and unhealthy lifestyle.
The regional meeting will be attended by over 100 stakeholders from health and non-health sectors, including officials from 11 member states such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
"This is also an opportunity to share countries` past experiences in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases," Plianbangchang said.