In recent years, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have globally shown increasing impact on health status in populations with disproportionately higher rates in developing countries. NCDs are the leading cause of mortality worldwide and a serious public health threat to developing countries. By 2020, it is predicted that these diseases will be causing seven out of every 10 deaths in developing countries. About 80 percent of the NCDs deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Nearly 30 percent of those deaths are in people under age 60. Unless action is taken, NCDs are predicted to claim 52 million people annually by 2030, according to an April 2011 World Health Organization (WHO) report. Their burden is affecting countries worldwide but with a growing trend in developing countries.
The Non-Aligned Movement has expressed its concern over the adverse effects of NCDs and has therefore underscored the need for concerted action and a coordinated response at the national, regional and global levels in order to adequately address the developmental and other challenges posed by non-communicable diseases, in particular the four most prominent non-communicable diseases namely cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. In this regard, NAM has reaffirmed support to the Political Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases by the high level meeting of the GA on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases on 19 and 20 September 2011 in New York. The said Declaration recognizes that the rising prevalence, morbidity and mortality of non-communicable diseases worldwide can be largely prevented and controlled through collective action by all Member States and other relevant stakeholders at the local, national, regional and global levels, and by raising the priority accorded to non-communicable diseases in development cooperation by enhancing such cooperation in this regard.
The declaration further recognises that effective non-communicable disease prevention and control require leadership and multisectoral approaches for health at the government level, including, as appropriate, health in all policies and whole-of-government approaches across such sectors as health, education, energy, agriculture, sports, transport, communication, urban planning, environment, labour, employment, industry and trade, finance, and social and economic development. NAM Member States have also emphasized the importance of giving appropriate consideration to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in the discussion on the post-2015 development agenda emphasized.
At the Algiers Ministerial Declaration, NAM emphasised the importance of sustained multisectoral, cost-effective and population-wide interventions in order to reduce the impact of the common non-communicable diseases risk factors through the implementation of, inter alia, national policies and plans as well as international agreements and strategies and education by involving all relevant stakeholder. NAM also acknowledged the contribution of international cooperation and assistance in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and, in this regard encouraged the continued inclusion of non-communicable diseases in development cooperation agenda’s and initiatives.
NAM Member States have undertaken a host of measures to address the problem of spread of NCDs. In line with whose Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020, India is the first country to develop specific national targets and indicators aimed at reducing the number of global premature deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025. A National Multisectoral Action Plan that outlines actions by various sectors in addition to the health sector, to reduce the burden of NCDs and their risk factors, is in the final stage of development.
Another NAM Member State South Africa has implemented a Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-2017 that outlines three main components to combat NCDs, including healthy lifestyle promotion, health systems strengthening, as well as monitoring cases and risk factors. As economic burden from NCDs could not only have adverse health effects but also could greatly impact economic development and take away funds available to fight poverty, it is imperative that the developing countries make a concerted effort to fight the same.