Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) are recognized as a major challenge in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to World Health Organization, Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) – mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – are the biggest cause of death worldwide. More than 36 million die annually from NCDs (63% of global deaths), including 14 million people who die too young before the age of 70.
More than 90% of these premature deaths from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries and as such this has inevitably allayed the concerns of the Non-Aligned Movement.
NAM has underscored the need for concerted action and 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 context, NAM has extended its support to the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020.
The Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020 has the following objectives: 1) To raise the priority accorded to the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in global, regional and national agendas and internationally agreed development goals, through strengthened international cooperation and advocacy; 2) To strengthen national capacity, leadership, governance, multisectoral action and partnerships to accelerate country response for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases; 3) To reduce modifiable risk factors for noncommunicable diseases and underlying social determinants through creation of health-promoting environments; 4) To strengthen and orient health systems to address the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases and the underlying social determinants through people-centred primary health care and universal health coverage; 5) To promote and support national capacity for high-quality research and development for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases; and 6) monitor the trends and determinants of noncommunicable diseases and evaluate progress in their prevention and control. NAM Member States have actively supported the Global Action Plan. 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. India has adopted the National Multisectoral NCD Action Plan (2015-22) with a goal to promote healthy choices, reduce preventable morbidity, avoid disability and premature mortality due to NCDs. To combat NCDs, the government recently launched the Ayushman Bharat mission under which the 150,000 sub-centres in the country will transform into wellness centres that will provide primary care for NCDs and timely referrals.
The Indian Government has also initiated population level prevention, control, screening and management initiative in almost 200 districts under National Health Mission (NHM) which will cover people above 30 years of age. When fully rolled out, the population-based screening will reach over 500 million adults with health promotion, risk reduction, screening, early detection and management of common NCDs. Free diagnosis, treatment, follow-up, referral and back referral have been integrated into the program with an IT platform developed through a multi-stakeholder partnership. The intervention also forms the core of Ayushman Bharat, comprehensive primary health care program. India’s efforts at combating NCDs have received international recognition. In September 2018, India’s Health Ministry along with National Health (NHM) Director Manoj Jhalani were conferred with the UN Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) Award for their contribution towards prevention and control of NCDs.
Sri Lanka has developed a National Multisectoral Action Plan for Prevention and Control of NCDs 2016-2020, which is consistent with the Global NCD Action Plan. Sri Lanka has set national targets that focus on risk factors – tobacco use, high blood pressure, high salt intake, obesity, physical inactivity and air pollution- as well as targets on access to essential NCD medicines and technologies, and drug therapy for prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Bangladesh has formulated a three-year operational plan (2018-2021) for prevention and control of NCD. The implementation of this plan employs a “health in all policies” approach engaging actors outside the health sector to tackle and influence public policies on shared risk factors, such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol, and exposure to poor indoor air quality.