Editor's Word

 

Dear Colleagues,

Many people should be aware of the growing extent of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) affecting the global population at epidemic proportions. These diseases are commonly known as chronic or lifestyle-related diseases which include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Statistics show that 7 in every 10 deaths globally are from these diseases mainly from tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity. Recognizing the alarming trends, the United Nations (UN) has formed an Independent NCD High-Level Commission in March 2018 to review the status and progress of actions taken on a global scale.

In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, more than 1.7 million people die every year from these 4 diseases alone, and yet many of these deaths could be prevented through simple lifestyle-related changes and cost-effective interventions implemented by national governments. In 2015, a regional alliance was organized by Dr. Ibtihal Fadhil, a WHO expert and Regional Adviser on NCDs. She is currently the chairman of the regional alliance and a board member of the global NCD initiative. To date, the alliance continues to expand forging partnerships with both government and civil society organizations in many levels.

During the UN interactive hearing on NCDs in New York, USA last July 5, 2018, the EMR alliance and CSOs submitted a report noting that “NCDs account for 62% of all deaths in the Region, with rising trends and prevalence of risk factors, namely tobacco use, in particular shisha among youth, widespread availability of unhealthy food outlets, aggressive marketing to children, increasing childhood overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity. The region has also the highest prevalence of diabetes, and one of the highest in overweight and obesity among children, compared to other WHO regions.”

Finally, on 27 September 2018 the United Nations General Assembly is staging the third High-level Meeting on the prevention and control of NCDs to review the global and national progress. We in the EM region are lobbying for the participation of the head of states and governments in this meeting for their commitment and support to the regional agenda. We also call for a wider engagement of national stakeholders including civil society organizations and communities to ensure effective and coherent national and regional response against these 4 diseases.

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Best regards,

Dr. Khaled Al Saleh
Editor-in-Chief

 

 

     
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