September 29, 2008

WHO Alarms Growing Threats of Noncommunicable Diseases

WHO alarms growing threats of noncommunicable diseases

MANILA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Noncommunicable diseases account for 80 percent of deaths in Western Pacific region and are expected to claim more lives in countries in economic transition, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Friday.

An estimated 26,500 people die every day from noncommunicable diseases in the region, with over 20,000 deaths reported in developing countries, WHO said in a press release.

Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic pulmonary diseases top the list of deaths.

WHO said noncommunicable diseases will further contribute to the region's burden of poverty and widen health inequities, as three quarters of diabetes and 90 percent of new cancer cases occurred in developing countries.

WHO's governing body in the region on Friday endorsed an action plane that calls for efforts to boost cost-effective interventions against noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and to strengthen health systems by integrating noncommunicable disease control into primary health care.

In endorsing the strategic plan, the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific noted that aside from the health burden, the economic impact of early deaths and disability from noncommunicable diseases can slow national development due to lost productivity.

WHO said lost productivity due to noncommunicable diseases between 2005 and 2015 in China, for example, will have cost over 550 billion U.S. dollars.

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