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Healthy Caribbean Coalition - WHF Press Release - Improved Focus Needed to Tackle Non-communicable Diseases in Developing Countries

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World Heart FoundationPress release:  Improved Focus Needed to Tackle Non-communicable Diseases in Developing Countries

World Heart Federation endorses recommendations included in new report from the Institute of Medicine claiming ‘profound mismatch’ between resources and disease burden

Geneva, 22 March 2010 – More resources, better policies and a comprehensive approach are needed to slow the rapid spread of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)1 in developing countries. This is the conclusion of a new report, “Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World2,” published today by the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM).

The World Heart Federation, which leads the global fight against heart disease and stroke, with a focus on low and middle income countries, welcomes the report. The Federation is recognized by the World Health Organization as its leading non-governmental partner in the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease.

“We need to focus on the risks of heart disease in poor countries just as much as in the developed world,” said Prof. Pekka Puska, President of the World Heart Federation, “Chronic conditions cause more disease and death in the developing world than all infectious diseases put together. We want governments to understand that investing resources to prevent these deaths is an urgent priority that they cannot afford to ignore.”

The IOM report recognizes that despite nearly 10 years of warnings, NCDs are causing increased levels of death and disability in developing countries, the necessary resources have not followed. The report says that there is now “a profound mismatch between the compelling evidence … and the lack of concrete steps to increase investment.”

The report also outlines a number of specific, concrete actions that it says must be taken if the situation is to improve and the rapid rise in deaths from cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases including cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases to be slowed or stopped. The World Heart Federation endorses all 12 recommendations identified in the report and in particular that:

  • Donor governments should “explicitly identify chronic diseases … as an area of focus.” This must also be followed up with funding commitments, based on a better assessment of resource needs.
  • Developing country governments should implement policies – including both laws restricting the sale of harmful goods (such as tobacco) and incentives to the private sector to encourage health-seeking behaviours.
  • Research is needed to identify policies that will work best in developing country settings. Rich countries have more experience fighting chronic diseases but not all of their policies can be transferred.

The IOM report recognizes the World Heart Federation as an important player in the global fight against cardiovascular disease. The World Heart Federation, with its network of 200 member organizations, is working at global, national and local levels to tackle the rise of heart disease and stroke around the world. Globally, the World Heart Federation is engaged in a cooperative alliance with the International Diabetes Federation and the International Union Against Cancer to lead the call to action to integrate non-communicable diseases into the global health and development agenda.

Contact details
For more information, please contact:
Charanjit Jagait, PhD, Director of Communications, World Heart Federation,
E: cjagait@worldheart.org
T: +41 (22) 807 03 34
Brian Tjugum, Weber Shandwick
E: btjugum@webershandwick.com
T: +44 (0)7785 770 224

About the World Heart Federation

The World Heart Federation leads the global fight against heart disease and stroke via a united community of 200 members. Through our collective efforts, we help people all over the world to lead longer, better, heart healthy lives.

About the IOM

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public.

Read the report >

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