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WHO Calls to Curb Deadly Noncommunicable Diseases

WHO Calls to Curb Deadly Noncommunicable Diseases

WHO Calls to Curb Deadly Noncommunicable Diseases


As part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases & Mental Health, which organized by the WHO in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the GCC Health Council, the WHO Independent High-level Commission on noncommunicable diseases met today (Tuesday) at the Kempinski Muscat Hotel.

A number of ministers of health, heads of delegations, government representatives and health experts along with the WHO Deputy Director-General and H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhri, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region attended the High-level Commission Meeting in the WHO Global Meeting.   

The health experts today handed (8) recommendations to the WHO Deputy Director-General that could save millions of lives and promote mental health in order to identify innovative ways to curb the world’s leading causes of death: cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, respiratory diseases and mental health conditions.

The Independent Commission highlighted that noncommunicable diseases still account for more than 70% of deaths and stressed that, “progress against NCDs and mental health conditions must be greatly accelerated if the 2030 Agenda is to succeed.” It also noted that many countries face challenges and need more support to implement solutions.


The Commission’s report laid out a set of 8 recommendations for the WHO:

  • Encourage Heads of State and Government to fulfil their commitment to provide strategic leadership by involving all relevant government departments, businesses, civil society groups as well as health professionals and people at risk from or suffering from NCDs and mental health conditions.
  • Support countries in efforts to empower individuals to make healthy choices, including by ensuring that the environment is conducive to living a healthy life, and that people receive the information they need to make healthy choices.
  • Encourage countries to invest in the prevention and control of NCDs and mental health conditions as a key opportunity to enhance human capital and accelerate economic growth.
  • Advise countries to include services to prevent and treat NCDs and mental health as essential components of Universal Health Coverage. 
  • Ensure that no one falls into poverty because they must pay for health care out of their own pockets through the provision of adequate social protection for everyone.
  • Increase engagement with businesses and provide technical support to Member States so they can mount effective national responses to NCDs and mental health conditions.
  • Encourage governments to promote meaningful engagement with civil society.
  • Advocate for the establishment of a multi-donor trust fund to support countries in activities reduce NCDs and promote mental health.

It is worth mentioning that every year, 41 million people die from NCDs, 15 million of them between the ages of 30 and 69. Despite the many proven solutions, progress has been slow and uneven globally. The WHO is committed to working with all partners to reduce pre-mature deaths from NCDs through prevention and treatment and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing.

If things keep going in this way, then 40 countries only will be able to achieve the 3.4 SDG target. Another 50 countries will achieve this goal if national measures are intensified to tackle NCDs by 2022.

Most of the premature deaths can be avoided and delayed by the early detection of NCDs with the focuses on the primary health care and universal health care. These deaths can also be avoided by reducing the risk factors that include tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, air pollution, as well as implementing legislative and organizational measures including financial measures.