what is next after the UN High Level Meeting on non communicable diseases

2018 World Cancer Congress

Is cancer the world’s leading disease?

The number of individuals worldwide diagnosed with cancer is expected to double by 2040, with most of the cases occurring in developing nations. The emerging epidemiological data suggests that by the end of the century, cancer will be the main global cause of premature mortality.

The dialogue on what is next after the UN High Level Meeting on non communicable diseases in New York opened with a plenary session presided by Dr Christopher Wild, representing the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), together with Ms Katie Dain, representing NCD Alliance. In his opening remarks, Dr Wild discussed the global burden of chronic disease and cancer and what steps can be taken to address this complex issue. 

Ms Dain, the CEO of the NCD Alliance discussed the outcomes of the official NCD deliberations held in September of 2018 in New York, as well as the political implications and next steps. While the NCD has made great strides, there is much work to be done. Ms Dain stressed the need for substantive action to renew governmental commitment to meeting the NCD UN sustainable development goals. Open dialogue and cross country collaboration, she said, would inform part of the public health community’s contribution to meeting the 2030 sustainable development goals. Even though non communicable diseases are a major cause of death worldwide, more than half of all countries are set to miss the mortality goals set for 2030.

Both session co-facilitators underlined the need for effective interventions and increased access to screening and timely treatment.

While the recent deliberations called for increased accountability and added air pollution and mental health to the agenda, there were no time bound national commitments and no new call to action for the private sector industries such as big Tobacco.

On a global level, health inequity in cancer screening and treatment continues to lead to poorer health outcomes in developing nations. In 2018, there were 18.1 million cases of cancer and 9.6 million cancer related deaths—with most of the mortality centered in developing countries. According to Dr. Wild, cross country partnerships leveraging expertise through a common purpose such as cancer registries “are a major step forward.” While there are some evidence based cancer prevention intervention that have been shown to be effective, the etiology of a large proportion of cancers still remains unknown.

Article contributed by Bukunmi, Gesinde