WHO project to combat noncommunicable diseases with major grant from Russian Federation

Copenhagen, Moscow – 26 November 2014

The WHO Regional Office for Europe will expand capacity in dealing with prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases through a major grant from the Russian Federation of 22 million USD over the next five years. The goal is to build capacity in the Region to combat avoidable NCDs through better data, more effective prevention and evidence-based disease management.

The efforts are much needed. The European Region is the WHO Region with the highest levels of alcohol consumption and the highest prevalence of tobacco use. Annually, 1.6 million people die tobacco-related deaths. Alcohol is the number one risk factor for the disease burden in eastern Europe. Physical inactivity is estimated to attribute to one million deaths per year in the Region, and over 50% of people are overweight or obese.

Progress has been made but not enough – despite declines in deaths from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in a large number of countries over the last decade, there are huge differences across the Region ranging from an increase in CVD mortality of 6% in the country with the highest CVD mortality, to a reduction of up to 40% in the country with the lowest mortality. “It is not acceptable that people die earlier when we know that policies regulating tobacco and alcohol consumption, as well as effective control of high blood pressure, can do a lot to avoid these early deaths” says Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “We know that half of the current daily smokers will die due to their addiction, and on average their life will be cut 20 years short”.

On December 1st a WHO Regional Office for Europe Conference in Moscow with representatives of the WHO European Member States, will discuss the project and help lay the foundation for the opening of an office based in Moscow to lead prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the European Region. The Conference will also focus on the progress made by many Member States in reducing NCD–related death and disability. These experiences will be brought forward to the Second Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Noncommunicable Diseases Control proposed for Moscow in 2016.

For further information, contact:

Tina Kiær
Information Officer
Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Life-course
WHO Regional Office for Europe
UN City
Marmorvej 51
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø
Tel: +45 30 36 37 76
Email: tki@euro.who.int