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Global health

WHO calls for basic medicines to be made available to tackle deaths from non-communicable diseases

Just under half the 38 million deaths in the world from non-communicable diseases (NCD) could have been prevented, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It wants to see 80% of affordable technologies and basic medicines available to treat major NCDs by 2025.

In its ‘Global status report on non-communicable diseases 2014’, published on 19 January 2015, WHO reveals that in 2012 some 16 million or 42% of global NCD deaths were avoidable.

Middle-income to low-income countries accounted for almost three-quarters of all NCD deaths and the number of NCD deaths was higher than those caused by infectious diseases. Some 82% of all NCD premature deaths occurred in these countries in 2012, the report says.

WHO is urging countries to take steps to meet its nine global NCD targets, to reduce the number of avoidable deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025. The nine targets include improving population diet by reducing average salt intake by 30%, cutting smoking rates by 30% in people aged over 15 years and making sure that 80% of affordable technologies and basic medicines are available to treat major NCDs.

“Our world possesses the knowledge and resources to achieve the nine global NCD targets by 2025,” says Oleg Chestnov, WHO’s assistant director general for NCD and mental health. “Falling short of the targets would be unacceptable.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20067633

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