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UN to focus on noncommunicable diseases

October 2010 | Volume 9, Issue 5 

Older man and woman stand side by side facing camera, both smilin
Photo by Scott Wallace/World Bank

With the world’s aging population, chronic noncommunicable
diseases are a growing problem and will be the focus of an
upcoming U.N. summit.

Noncommunicable diseases were included in a recent U.N. declaration regarding the need to intensify efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. A U.N. summit on NCDs is planned for Sept. 2011.

In preparation for the recent MDG meeting, the U.N. Secretary-General's special envoy, Sir George Alleyne, visited NIH to gather input on the issue. Alleyne, former director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), is an advocate for raising awareness of the global burden created by non-communicable diseases.

Fogarty is coordinating NIH input to the State Department as it develops U.S. positions for the groundbreaking meeting, the first ever of its kind on NCDs at the U.N. General Assembly.

Mortality from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing in developing nations, according to the WHO, with heart disease and stroke representing 29 percent of deaths annually. Add in diabetes and that number increases to approximately 60 percent of deaths worldwide, with the vast majority occurring in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

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