Armenia hosts round-table on prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases

WHO

In Armenia, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) account for 92% of deaths, with cardiovascular diseases as the main killer (54%), followed by cancers (22%). Moreover, NCD-related causes account for 77% of premature mortality in the country. With the adoption of the Strategic Programme for the Prevention and Control of NCDs for the years 2016 – 2020, and the related Action Plan, the Government of Armenia is making significant efforts to address this leading cause of premature death and avoidable disability.

On 20 – 21 March 2017, the World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Armenia, organized a round table discussion on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in Armenia, involving representatives of main governmental and nongovernmental sectors, as well as international organizations.

In his message to the group, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Sergey Khachatryan underscored the government’s commitment to addressing the growing burden of NCDs and their significant economic and social impact. He said, “The Government of Armenia and the Ministry of Health of Armenia will make every effort possible to ensure a decrease in the rate of disabilities and preterm deaths caused by common noncommunicable diseases, as a result of programme implementation that will have a direct impact on the economic development of our country.”

In his opening speech, WHO Representative in Armenia Dr Egor Zaitsev said, “Strong intersectoral collaboration is of paramount importance to achieve tangible results in NCD control. For instance, if you wish to address such an important NCD risk factor as tobacco in Armenia, in addition to the Ministry of Health, we need to work closely with other governmental agencies, like Ministries of Economy, Finance, Education and, of course, with civil society.”

At the round table discussion, international experts presented two guiding documents to accelerate implementation of priority actions: (1) the report on the health system challenges and opportunities to improve NCD outcomes in Armenia; and (2) the preliminary findings of the WHO STEPwise approach to Surveillance (STEPS), implemented in Armenia in 2016. Workshops were also organized, facilitated by international experts, to support the implementation of key activities identified in the report being launched, supporting the country’s progress towards the European health policy framework Health 2020, the NCD Global Monitoring Framework 2025, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The meeting was supported by funding from the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation within the context of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.