In preparation for the UN High-Level Meeting next week, the WHO released today 193 country profiles on noncommunicable disease (NCD) trends. The country profiles break down what percentage of deaths in each country are attributable to each of the four main noncommunicable diseases: chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. The comprehensive reports also show disease prevalence, presence of risk factors such as body mass index and blood sugar, and action that countries have taken towards reducing NCDs. In essence, these profiles are report cards for countries to monitor how their country has been handling the increasing burden of NCDs. The reports also provide opportunities for countries to see what areas they need to improve upon to strategically and effectively target these diseases.
Globally, NCDs caused over 36 million deaths in 2008. Cardiovascular disease accounted for 48% of these deaths, cancers 21%, lung diseases 12%, and diabetes 3%. More than 9 million of these deaths occurred before the age of 60, and 90% of those deaths happened in low-income countries. Gone is the misconception that NCDs plague only high-income countries; with an aging population and industrialization bringing with it a wave of new exposures to NCD risk factors, low-income countries must address this growing public health problem.
“This report indicates where each government needs to focus to prevent and treat the four major killers: cancer, heart disease and stroke, lung disease and diabetes,” says Dr Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health at WHO.
I am very excited to see how these country profiles will be used at the Summit next week, and how they may factor into the creation of the Outcomes Document. WHO is also releasing some more important documents regarding NCD policies and steps towards implementation, so keep coming back for more updates!
NCD Country Profile Report in its entirety
Noncommunicable Disease Country Profiles: downloadable PDF versions for each country
USA Country NCD Profile.pdf