Saturday, February 26, 2011

Non-Communicable Diseases: A Neglected Dimension of Women's Health & Development

The notion that "the lack of attention to NCDs is the greatest health paradox" was presented. That's a powerful statement, and this was a powerful presentation.
Let's begin by presenting some startling statistics:
NCDs are the biggest global killers and account for over 60% of the annual deaths (80% of those are in developing countries)
18 million women are killed annually by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
4 out of 5 cases of NCDs are in developing countries
NCDs feed into the MDGs (#1, 4, 5, 6 in particular) and impede progress
NCDs have a negative impact on human and economic development
NCDs pose a high burden on health systems
NCDs are the leading cause of preventable morbidity and disability

In 2009, the NCD Alliance was formed, bringing together advocates for the four diseases included under the NCD umbrella:
1. Cancers
2. Cardiovascular Disease
3. Chronic Respiratory Disease
4. Diabetes

The alliance is a civil society movement which provides a global voice and produces evidence, while at the same time creating a like-minded community.

One of the main accomplishments of the alliance is that they achieved the establishment of a UN Summit on NCDs, slated for September, 2011. After the success of the 2001 Summit on AIDS, there are high hopes for the NCD Summit. Some of the goals of the 2011 Summit are to 1) create an NCD plan of action, 2) create action focused on the prevention of NCDs, 3) the provision of resources to deliver interventions to those in need, and 4) the creation of MDG successor goals.
There will be three thematic round tables at the NCD UN Summit: 1) incidence and impact of NCDs, 2) policy, protection, and control by nations, 3) international cooperation.

This was another moving presentation that left an indelible impression on me. I entered this session with one notion of what would be discussed and debated, and left with an expanded view of the seriousness of NCDs worldwide. The thought that many NCD deaths and disabilities are preventable makes me stop and think, and really inspires me to do more to increase access and awareness in my world. I look forward to, and have high hopes for the 09/2011 NCD Summit. Small steps have profound impacts. The NCD Summit is a huge step in my mind, so I hope for global successes and global impacts following the meeting.

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