WHO urges action against NCDs

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A man gets his blood pressure checked. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The World Health Organisation has called on the world leaders to take urgent action against chronic diseases and mental health disorders via Commission on Non-Communicable Diseases.

According to a WHO report issued June 1, political commitment and the immediate scaling up of action to address an epidemic of NCDs is needed.

The report said that collectively, cancer, diabetes, lung and heart diseases kill 41 million people annually, accounting for 71 percent of all deaths globally.

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Commission co-chair Dr Sania Nishtar said that politicians must find financial resources to battle the diseases.

“We know the problem and we have the solutions, but unless we increase financing for NCDs, and demand all stakeholders be held responsible for delivering on their promises, we won’t be able to accelerate progress,” she said, noting NCDs have rose dramatically in low- and middle-income countries over the last two decades.

“We need to move quickly to save lives, prevent needless suffering, and keep fragile health systems from collapsing,” she said.

Health Ministry officials could not be reached for comment yesterday, but according to a report from the ministry, non-communicable diseases have been increasing in the Kingdom, specifically diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.

“Expected premature deaths caused by non-communicable diseases increased,” the report said. “The government is strongly committed to solving the problem.”

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The Health Ministry report noted that there were 25,301 cases of diabetes in 2014, which increased to 56,152 cases in 2017.

It added that the high blood pressure also increased, from 13,960 cases in 2014 to 21,309 cases in 2017. Heart attacks also increased from 21,103 cases in 2014 to 24,946 cases in 2017.

Health Minister Mam Bun Heng said previously that the government has put together a national action plan to prevent and fight against non-communicable diseases until 2026 in response to the increases.

Mr Bun Heng said non-communicable diseases were predicted to rise further due to changing lifestyles and environments in the country.

“Non-communicable diseases are chronic diseases causing disability, loss of labour, increased poverty and massive spending on the national economy,” he said. “People should not smoke or drink too much alcohol. They also should not eat too much salt or sugar and should exercise more. By doing all that, we can reduce our death rates by up to 80 percent.”

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The Cambodian death rate from non-communicable diseases is currently about 56 percent, while the rate worldwide is 44 percent.

The WHO also made multiple recommendations in its report for country leaders.

“Governments should identify and implement a specific set of priorities within the overall NCD and mental health agenda based on public health needs,” the report said. “Governments should reorient health systems to include NCDs prevention and control and mental health services in their universal health coverage policies and plans.”

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