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Global Targets For NCD Prevention, Control Must Be Carefully Considered

Noting this week marks the first anniversary of the U.N. High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a Lancet editorial states, “The meeting was a crucial step for putting diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease high on the global health agenda. However, little action, other than more talking, has been taken since.” The editorial continues, “The key positive development of the past year was the goal to reduce preventable deaths from NCDs by 25 percent by 2025 passed by the World Health Assembly in May,” but “[t]he challenge now is how to meet it.”

The editorial says global targets for prevention and control, to be set by the end of 2012, “must be chosen carefully; any health issues not covered will receive little or no attention.” In addition, “[c]lear and strong global leadership is essential,” the editorial states, noting there is “[n]o single international agency responsible for NCDs.” The journal will publish “its views of what the targets should be” and its fourth series on NCDs over the coming months, the Lancet states, concluding, “Between now and [early next year] a short window exists in which the U.N.’s NCD targets can influence global health policy and thus post-2015 development goals. To take full advantage, the strategy must be clearly planned and effectively led. The U.N. and WHO have to act quickly and decisively to not miss this opportunity” (9/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.