Progress on noncommunicable diseases, nutrition and Millennium Development Goals

News release

Progress reports on noncommunicable diseases, environmental health, violence and injury prevention, nutrition, universal health coverage and the Millennium Development Goals were delivered today at the sixty-fifth session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)

Most Member States in the Region have developed national NCD policies, multisectoral work plans and targets aligned with the 9 voluntary global targets. At the local level, cities and schools have implemented NCD programmes to enable people to lead healthier lives. To strengthen guidance and promotion for the prevention and control of NCDs, WHO has developed the Leadership and Advocacy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (LeAD-NCD), a programme for use in national and regional workshops by ministries of health and national institutes throughout the Region.

Momentum to reduce the modifiable risk factors for NCDs is building. Approximately half of Member States in the Region have reached the target of reducing tobacco use prevalence by 10% in the past 5 years; Pacific health ministers have announced a tobacco-free Pacific goal to reduce adult tobacco use prevalence to less than 5% by 2025. A regional salt reduction network is being initiated to share good practices and disseminate the salt advocacy pack, while regional salt reduction targets have been developed in the Pacific.

Environmental health

WHO has worked closely with Member States of the Regional Forum on Environment and Health in Southeast and East Asian countries. The Regional Forum provides a venue for sharing knowledge and experiences, improving policy and regulatory frameworks and promoting policy dialogue between health and other sectors to implement integrated environmental health strategies.

Violence and injury prevention

A series of short documentaries are being produced advocating supportive environments for violence and injury prevention following a situational assessment of violence and injury prevention in priority countries. Twenty Western Pacific Member States contributed to the Global Status Report on Violence Prevention to be launched in December 2014. The report will support scale up of evidence-based interventions, and standardize information on fatal assaults, national responses to child and elder maltreatment, and intimate partner, sexual and youth violence.

Nutrition: Double burden of malnutrition

WHO has worked closely with Member States to develop and update national nutrition policies and plans, and to strengthen legal measures to promote, protect and support optimal breastfeeding and healthy diets. In response to Regional Committee mandates, an Action Plan to Reduce the Double Burden of Malnutrition in the Western Pacific (2015–2020) was developed in consultation with Member States.

Universal health coverage (UHC)

WHO supports Member States to attain UHC by (1) strengthening health system stewardship for UHC; (2) improving financial risk protection; (3) improving equity in access to quality health services; and (4) guiding Member States to use resources efficiently. Over the next two years, many Member States will renew their multi-year national strategic health plans. They will be guided by the principles of equity, quality, efficiency and sustainability — requirements for UHC.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

With the deadline fast approaching, Western Pacific Member States are likely to achieve several of the health and health-related MDGs. Some countries may not reach all the goals by 2015; however, they have made substantial progress in improving coverage and reducing mortality and morbidity rates. Several issues hinder the achievement of MDGs, including uneven progress among and within countries, the emergence of drug resistance and a lack of reliable information to monitor progress in essential medicines. Efforts must be intensified to increase availability and access to health services to reduce health disparities overall.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Ruel E. Serrano
Public Information Office
WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific
United Nations Avenue corner Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +632 528 9993 Email: