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Healthy Caribbean Coalition - WHO: Non-communicable diseases are world's top killers

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First Published 29, April 2011 Jamaica Observer - online here

LOW and middle-income countries, including Jamaica, accounted for nearly 80 per cent of the 36.1 million deaths caused by non-communicable diseases in 2008, according to the first World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Status Report on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) launched Wednesday.

The report confirms that NCDs, including heart disease, strokes, chronic lung diseases, cancers and diabetes are the leading killers today and are on the increase.

"The rise of chronic non-communicable diseases presents an enormous challenge," says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, who launched the report during the WHO Global Forum on addressing the challenge of non-communicable diseases, held yesterday in Moscow, Russia. "For some countries, it is no exaggeration to describe the situation as an impending disaster; a disaster for health, for society, and most of all for national economies."

According to Dr Chan, "chronic non-communicable diseases deliver a two-punch blow to development. They cause billions of dollars in losses of national income, and they push millions of people below the poverty line, each and every year."

But the report notes that millions of deaths can be prevented by stronger implementation of measures that exist today. These include policies that promote government-wide action against NCDs such as stronger anti-tobacco controls and promoting healthier diets, physical activity, and reducing the harmful use of alcohol; along with improving people's access to essential healthcare.

Read the complete article here http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/WHO--Non-communicable-diseases-are-world-s-top-killers_8720471a>.

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