Muscat: At a summit in Oman, the World Health Organisation received from ministers and healthcare professionals a list of eight recommendations countries need to follow if they are to reduce the deaths caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The recommendations were set out as part of the WHO’s Global Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health, which was organised in collaboration with Oman’s Ministry of Health and the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Health Council.
A number of ministers of health, heads of delegations, government representatives and health experts along with the WHO Deputy Director-General and Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region attended the meeting held at the Kempinski Muscat Hotel.
“The eight recommendations include encouraging heads of state and government to fulfil their commitment to provide strategic leadership by involving all relevant government departments, businesses, civil society groups as well as health professionals and people at risk from or suffering from NCDs and mental health conditions, and supporting countries in efforts to empower individuals to make healthy choices, including by ensuring that the environment is conducive to living a healthy life, and that people receive the information they need to make healthy choices,” said a statement from the Ministry of Health.
“In addition, the WHO must encourage countries to invest in the prevention and control of NCDs and mental health conditions as a key opportunity to enhance human capital and accelerate economic growth,” added the statement. “We must also advise countries to include services to prevent and treat NCDs and mental health as essential components of universal health coverage.”
Other recommendations are to ensure the provision of adequate social protection for everyone so that no one falls into poverty because they have to pay for healthcare out of their own pockets, and to increase engagement with businesses and provide technical support to member states so they can mount effective national responses to NCDs and mental health conditions. Also, governments must be encouraged to promote meaningful engagement with civil society, and advocate for the establishment of a multi-donor trust fund to support countries in activities reduce NCDs and promote mental health.
“It is worth mentioning that every year, 41 million people die from NCDs, 15 million of them between the ages of 30 and 69,” added the Ministry statement. “Despite the many proven solutions, progress has been slow and uneven globally. The WHO is committed to working with all partners to reduce pre-mature deaths from NCDs through prevention and treatment and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing.
“If things keep going this way, then only 40 countries will be able to achieve the 3.4 SDG target,” added the statement. “Another 50 countries will achieve this goal if national measures are intensified to tackle NCDs by 2022. Most of the premature deaths can be avoided and delayed by the early detection of NCDs with focus on the primary health care and universal healthcare. These deaths can also be avoided by reducing the risk factors that include tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, air pollution, as well as implementing legislative and organisational measures including financial measures