Target Of 25% Reduction In Premature Mortality From NCDs By 2025 A 'Rallying Call' For Global Health Community

Member states at the 65th session of the World Health Assembly, which concluded last week, “agreed to adopt a global target of a 25 percent reduction in premature mortality from non-communicable diseases [NCDs] such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases by 2025,” Devi Sridhar, a lecturer in Global Health Politics at Oxford University; Lawrence Gostin, professor of law at Georgetown University, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, and director of the WHO’s Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights; and Derek Yach, senior vice president of global health and agricultural policy at PepsiCo and former executive of the WHO, write in the journal Global Health Governance. The authors discuss the basis on which the target was set and examine what will need to be done, and by whom, in order to achieve the goal.

“[T]o achieve the scale of reduction needed to meet the 2025 target will place a focus on short to medium term treatment given that medical interventions gain quicker results than prevention,” they write. “The treatment goals to make it to 2025 — and even more so the longer-term prevention aspirations — would require a new form of governance and funding unprecedented in global health,” they continue, writing that it would require “a dramatic increase in funding levels; the full engagement of pharmaceutical companies and public health professionals to extend access and adherence; the creation of facilities to vaccinate, screen and affordably treat cancers”; and “global leadership on NCDs, which is currently missing.” They conclude, “But perhaps, like what 3 by 5 did for HIV/AIDS, the NCD target is more a rallying call for the global community to prioritize these conditions, rather than a real target based on evidence. And, if it proved true, it could become a powerful tool in itself” (5/30).

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