Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including the most common cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetics and chronic respiratory diseases are increasing day by day around the world. Such NCDs are now a major global health burden.
According to the global status report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on NCDs 2011, NCDs are the leading causes of death in the world, accounting for 63% of global death. Eighty per cent of such death cases occur in the developing countries.
According to Global Facts and Figures of American Cancer Society (ACS), cancer is the cause for more deaths than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (TB) combined. Chronic diseases, according to a report placed at the World Economic Forum, are among one of the three greatest risks to the global economy.
According to the ACS, only cancer takes the greatest global financial toll, among all other diseases. Currently 63% of cancer-related deaths occur in developing countries and it will increase up to 82% by 2030. Sixty three per cent of global death is responsible for NCDs, while only 3.0% of global developmental assistance is allocated for NCD prevention. Eighty per cent of global cancer burden is occurring in developing countries, while 5.0% resources are spent are spending in such countries for cancer prevention. There is an imbalanced situation worldwide, more particularly so in the developing countries, when considered in the context of the NCDs burden versus resources available for their prevention.
Worldwide, the incidence of cancer and other NCDs is on the rise. That is why this is a global issue. In this context, it has been a great initiative in the history of the United Nations (UN) that it is going to hold a high-level meeting on September 19 and 20, 2011 in New York city at its head quarters. The UN General Assembly is the main decision-making body on issues of principles for the UN. It is there that all the UN member-countries have decided to organise the UN NCD summit to focus global attention and agree, on an action plan to address the problem of NCDs. After the opening speech by the President and the Secretary General of the UN, and the presentation by the Director General (DG) of the WHO, the working sessions of summit will start on September 19. Some of the country-head of delegations are also expected to address the opening session of the conference. Then three round-table sessions will be held where three different issues will focus on. These issues include:
1. The rising incidence, developmental and other challenges, social and economic impact of NCDs and their risk factors;
2. Strengthening national capacities as well as appropriate policies to address prevention and control of NCDs;
3. Fostering international cooperation as well as coordination to address NCDs
This high-level meeting will discuss and develop the strategies to address the rising rate of NCD-related death worldwide. It is expected to focus action at many levels through multi-sectoral approaches, and to generate global commitment and momentum.
The NCD is a big burden for Bangladesh, too. According to the WHO fact sheet on NCDs, such diseases account for 70% death cases -- including 30% on account of hearth diseases and stroke and 13%, cancer. Tobacco consumption is the most common cause for the increase of NCDs in Bangladesh. According to WHO study in 2004, tobacco consumption is responsible for eight major NCDs (including cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetics etc) among 1.2 million people in Bangladesh. A total of 3,82,000 patients lost their physical activeness and 57 thousand cases of death occurred.
While the number of deaths has further increased as the rate of tobacco consumption and also the number of people, in absolute terms, who are used to its consumption, have increased in recent years. In addition, the use of alcohol and other drugs, eating of unhealthy diet and food, physical inactivity etc., are other common causes for the increasing incidence of NCDs.
Now we need to focus more on prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCD) and the UN summit on NCD is a way to focus on inter-related issues globally. Prime Minister Sheik Hasina will join the UN NCD summit.
There is the opportunity for Bangladesh to play an active and leading role at this high level meeting - the UN summit on NCDs. This may facilitate greater international support and cooperation in areas of action for preventing NCD and ensure availability of developmental assistance for the purpose in the future.