Panel recommends 8 actions to WHO on curbing deadly noncommunicable diseases

The first report of the Commission, "Time to deliver" was released in June 2018 and focused on challenges and recommendations to Heads of State. The second report provided possible solutions against NCDs

World leaders and health experts on Tuesday handed eight key recommendations to WHO's Director-General that could save millions of lives and promote mental health. The WHO Independent High-level Commission on noncommunicable diseases was convened by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in October 2017.

The Commission highlighted that noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) still account for more than 70% of deaths and stressed that, "progress against NCDs and mental health conditions must be greatly accelerated if the 2030 Agenda is to succeed." It also noted that many countries face challenges and need more support to implement solutions.

Depression treatment
Depression treatment Pixabay

The report laid out a set of 8 recommendations for WHO:

  • Encourage Heads of State and Government officials to fulfil their commitment to provide strategic leadership by involving all relevant government departments, businesses, civil society groups as well as health professionals and people at risk from or suffering from NCDs and mental health conditions.
  • Support countries in efforts to empower individuals to make healthy choices, including by ensuring that the environment is conducive to living a healthy life, and that people receive the information they need to make healthy choices.
  • Encourage countries to invest in the prevention and control of NCDs and mental health conditions as a key opportunity to enhance human capital and accelerate economic growth.
  • Advise countries to include services to prevent and treat NCDs and mental health as essential components of Universal Health Coverage.
  • Ensure that no one falls into poverty because they have to pay for health care out of their own pockets through the provision of adequate social protection for everyone.
  • Increase engagement with businesses and provide technical support to Member States so they can mount effective national responses to NCDs and mental health conditions.
  • Encourage governments to promote meaningful engagement with civil society.
  • Advocate for the establishment of a multi-donor trust fund to support countries in activities to reduce NCDs and promote mental health.

The Report was launched in Muscat, Oman at the WHO Global Meeting to Accelerate Progress on NCDs and Mental Health with more than 600 representatives from governments, UN agencies, civil society, private sector, philanthropies, and academia present.

41 million die from NCDs

Every year, 41 million people die from NCDs, 15 million of them between the ages of 30 and 69, said the report. Despite many steps, progress has been slow and uneven globally. WHO now seeks to include all partners to reduce pre-mature deaths from NCDs through prevention and treatment and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing.

The Commission's Co-chairs include the presidents of Finland, Sri Lanka and Uruguay, the Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation and Dr Sania Nishtar, a leading NCDs expert and advocate and a former Pakistan health minister.