WHO calls for setting targets and indicators to intensify efforts against noncommunicable diseases

News release

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific today reviewed the progress so far on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and called for multisectoral action and development of targets and indicators for NCD prevention and control.

"Noncommunicable diseases have been a global and regional priority over the past year, with an especially grave crisis declared in the Pacific," said Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. “At the request of thís Committee, we are assisting countries to develop global targets and indicators for NCD control by the end of thís year. We are helping to better monitor NCDs and their risk factors.”

The Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases called last year for a global monitoring framework and voluntary global targets focusing on four diseases—cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes—which are responsible for four out of every five deaths in the Region. Major risk factors are tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.

NCD interventions that are likely to have targets and indicators include the following:

  • reducing mortality from noncommunicable diseases
  • curbing smoking
  • cutting alcohol and salt intake
  • lowering blood pressure
  • preventing heart attack and stroke
  • improving rates of cervical cancer screening
  • eliminating industrial produced trans fat from the food supply

In May this year, the World Health Assembly, WHO's governing body decided to adopt a global target of a 25% reduction in premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases by 2025. Discussions at the Regional Committee Meeting on the development of global voluntary targets and indicators for NCDs will support the finalization of the set of targets and indicators at a global meeting, which will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 2012.

A regional training for NCD surveillance is planned in December 2012 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, to support the development of national targets. Based on the global voluntary targets and indicators, Member States will be supported in the development of national targets and indicators.

The regional NCD action plan for 2014–2020 will be aligned to the updated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases being developed.

The Regional Committee, WHO's governing body in the Region, is meeting in Hanoi from 24 to 28 September, to review WHO's work in the Region and set future health directions.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Ms Marilu Lingad
Mobile (Viet Nam): +84 (0)1272643638
Mobile (Philippines): +63 908 891 4532;
E-mail: lingadm@wpro.who.int

Mr Timothy O'Leary
Mobile (Viet Nam): +84 (0)1252093845
Mobile (Philippines): +63 908 886 8738
E-mail: olearyt@wpro.who.int