Gone every 2 seconds – WHO reveals global death rate for NCDs

Every two seconds one person under the age of 70 loses his or her life to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), states a World Health Organization report. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Every two seconds one person under the age of 70 loses his or her life to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), says the World Health Organization (WHO) in a report titled “Invisible numbers: The true extent of noncommunicable diseases and what to do about them” launched recently.

The report stated addressing major risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and air pollution could prevent or delay significant ill health and the large number of deaths from NCDs.

The WHO report stated NCDs a­ffected all countries and regions but the largest burden was on low and middle-income countries, which accounted for 86 per cent of the premature deaths.

“The COVID-19 pandemic took an especially heavy toll on people living with NCDs, highlighting how these diseases undermine the very foundations of good health,” the report stated.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that protecting and promoting health is not only the domain of health ministers. In the same way as COVID-19, NCDs endanger lives, livelihoods and global development, which means that preventing and managing these diseases requires a concerted e­ort, with a whole-of-government, whole-of-society response across countries and sectors.”

The report stated the chief NCD’s were cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke), cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases – along with mental health, causing nearly three-quarters of deaths in the world.

“Every year 17 million people under the age of 70 die of NCDs, and 86 per cent of them live in low- and middle-income countries,” the report stated.

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