According to a new WHO report titled ‘Noncommunicable disease Progress Monitor 2017’, Governments must step up efforts to control noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) to meet globally agreed targets, including preventing the premature deaths of millions of people from these conditions. Limited national progress has been made in the fight against NCDs – primarily cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, cancers and diabetes – which are the world’s biggest killers, and claim the lives of 15 million people aged 30 to 70 years annually.
The WHO Noncommunicable disease Progress Monitor 2017, which charts actions by countries to set targets, implement policies to address four main shared and modifiable NCD risk factors (tobacco, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol) and build capacities to reduce and treat NCDs shows that progress around the world has been uneven and insufficient.
The Progress Monitor provides data on 19 indicators in all of WHO’s 194 Member States. The indicators include setting time-bound targets to reduce NCD deaths; developing all-of-government policies to address NCDs; implementing key tobacco demand reduction measures, measures to reduce harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets and promote physical activity; and strengthening health systems through primary health care and universal health coverage.
Key highlights of the 2017 edition include:
- 93 countries have set national targets to address NCDs, up from 59 in 2015;
- 94 countries have implemented operational multisectoral strategies to address NCDs, compared to 64 in 2015;
- 90 countries have developed guidelines for managing the four major NCDs, up from 50 in 2015;
- 100 countries have conducted physical activity awareness campaigns;
- Six countries have not achieved any of the progress indicators, compared to 14 in 2015. Five of the six countries are African;
- Costa Rica and Iran lead the 10 the best performing countries, with each achieving 15 of the 19 indicators, followed by Brazil, Bulgaria, Turkey and the United Kingdom (each 13); Finland, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Thailand (12).
- No country from the WHO Africa region achieved more than eight of the progress indicators.