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Feb 28, 2024

Inclusion of NCDs will help save more lives: WHO

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FA News Desk

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes, are responsible for 75% of deaths worldwide, said the World Health Organization (WHO).

People affected by humanitarian emergencies are at increased risk of NCDs. It is estimated that strokes and heart attacks are up to three times more likely following a disaster. 

However, care and treatment for NCDs are often not included as a standard part of humanitarian emergency preparedness and response, which focus on the most immediate needs, added WHO in its press statement.

To support integration of essential services for NCDs in emergency preparedness and humanitarian response, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Kingdom of Denmark, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Kenya, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are jointly convening a global high-level technical meeting on NCDs in humanitarian settings on 27-29 February in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Humanitarian emergencies in recent years are becoming more complex and interconnected.  Hunger and shortages of essential goods exacerbate geopolitical conflicts, ecological degradation and climate change result in more frequent and extreme natural disasters.

The number of crises impacting people’s health has been increasing. United Nations estimates show that 300 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2024 with over half (165.7 million) in need of emergency health assistance.

Refugees often face limited access to health care, because of poor living conditions, financial difficulties, and precarious legal status. UNHCR says 75% in the Syrian Arab Republic, 92% in Ukraine, 50% in Afghanistan and 28% in South Sudan.

Today’s global high-level technical consultation provides a critical platform to share best practices for effectively supporting Member States in delivering NCD prevention and control services within humanitarian responses. 

The outputs of this meeting will contribute to the 2024 progress report to the UN Secretary-General, informing plans for the Fourth UN High-level Meeting on NCDs scheduled for 2025.