Noncommunicable diseases on global health agenda

Alexey Morozov

The First Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Noncommunicable Disease Control took place in Moscow, Russian Federation on 28–29 April 2011. European delegations met before the Conference to discuss WHO European Region’s challenges in and solutions to the problem.

Speaking at the meeting for European delegations, Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, noted that noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) were not only a health concern but also a development and economic issue: “They are a global problem that needs national solutions. They need a blend of disease prevention and disease management. Solutions involve the whole of society, and require the implementation of a package of cost-effective policies linked to strengthened health systems.”

Ms Jakab welcomed the “growing ease within Europe with a more concerted approach to NCDs” and called on health ministries to broaden discussions to include ministries of foreign affairs and other agencies.

Countries in the WHO European Region discussed the report on a consultation in Oslo, Norway in November 2010. The main discussion centred on whether a separate statement was needed that would clearly highlight the problems and needs specific to the WHO European Region. Views were mixed, and in general it was felt that further discussion within national governments was needed to settle the issue. It was agreed to continue the discussion at the World Health Assembly in May; at a separate meeting organized for European Member States, they will work towards a decision on what contribution from the Region should go to the United Nations high-level meeting on NCD prevention and control, which will take place on 19–20 September in New York City, United States of America.