Most major noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are avoidable. By tackling major risk factors – such as tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity – at least 80% of all cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, as well as 40% of cancer, could be prevented.

Targeting risk factors is much less expensive than treating NCDs later. When NCDs are reduced, the benefits include not only a healthier population that lives longer with less suffering, but also a country that is more prosperous and socially and economically resilient.

The challenges for countries in tackling NCDs arise not only within the health system, but also across sectors – including areas outside the traditional health system. This includes areas of the private sector that profit from the sale of tobacco, alcohol and food that is high in energy, fats, sugars or salt.

How the NCD Office offers support

The WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of NCDs (NCD Office) works in close collaboration with technical experts from the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course at WHO/Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark. It also works with other partners, including professionals and scientists from the Russian Federation where the NCD Office is based.

Countries request and receive support as they address the main NCD risk factors through surveillance, policies and national capacity-building. This is done through intra- and intercountry courses and workshops, and includes expert research visits.

The NCD Office supports the development of WHO documentation such as reports, recommendations and guidelines, and facilitates their translation into Russian to provide access for Russian speakers. It uses this documentation as a basis for initiatives on which countries are working.