On 12th April 2022, WHO launched its new International Strategic Dialogue on Noncommunicable Diseases and the Sustainable Development Goals. This new Dialogue aims to take the next decisive step towards comprehensive action on NCDs and achieving SDG 3.4 – which is to reduce by one third the premature mortality of NCDs through prevention and treatment, and to promote mental health and well-being.
During this meeting, WHO emphasized that NCDs are largely preventable and treatable. Globally, 7 out of 10 people die from risk factors such as unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. It is estimated that nearly 7 million lives could be saved with a contribution of just US$ 0.84 per person per year from now until 2030. This investment would lead to more than US$ 230 billion in economic and societal benefits and avert nearly 10 million heart attacks and strokes globally by 2030. Therefore, it is very important to act now and do more regarding NCD prevention.
The NCD Dialogue will focus on five key areas of commitment which are to prevent the deaths of 50 million people dying prematurely of NCDs: the implementation of the most cost-effective measures to prevent and control NCDs; ensuring that the 1.7 billion people living with NCDs have access to the necessary medicines and care; integrating NCDs within primary health care and universal health coverage; developing proper NCD surveillance and monitoring systems; and engaging NCD patients in policy-making.
The many health and economic benefits of investing in NCDs were clearly highlighted during the event. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, stressed the threat that NCDs pose for not only public health, but also for socioeconomic development. The commitment made by Member States through the establishment of the Dialogue marks a crucial step in speeding up the progress against the diseases and their risk factors and will lead to more policy developments.