High-level health authorities of the Americas discussed the Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), which are responsible for three of every four deaths in the Region, or about 4.45 million deaths annually.
The plan calls for a 25% reduction in premature deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases by 2025.
Suriname noted that noncommunicable diseases is “one of the greatest challenges facing public health” and that addressing this problem will require a change in the behavior mindset in the population.
The United States thanked PAHO for developing a solid framework for dealing with NCDs, a serious public health problem in the Region.
Chile observed that some multisectoral policies have been implemented, such as the “Elige Vivir Sano” (Choose to Live Healthily), which promotes partnerships between the government, civil society, private sector, and other stakeholders and encourages the adoption of healthy behaviors and lifestyles. Additionally, the Chilean delegate welcomed the World Health Organization’s proposal to develop a Global Coordination Mechanism for NCDs.
“These diseases pose a growing threat for the entire population, given the variation in the population pyramid of Colombia caused by the aging of the population,” said the delegate from this country, who recommended the establishment of safeguards to prevent interference by special interest groups.
Costa Rica stressed the need to change behavior in the population, particularly among young people, in terms of nutrition, physical activity, and recreation, as well as the avoidance of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. The country has developed programs that emphasize healthy habits for children and adolescents.
The Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, France, Jamaica, Mexico, and Trinidad y Tobago, among other countries, also commented on the proposed resolution on NCDs and the plan of action.
Robert Chapman, representative of the American Cancer Society, addressed the plenary as a member of civil society, and advocated intersectoral and multisectoral action to face the challenges posed by NCDs. He also asked for such actions to be incorporated in the post-2015 global development agenda.
The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control, made up of over 500 nongovernmental organizations from more than 100 countries, requested that the fight against tobacco be included in the post-2015 global development agenda. Alzheimer’s Disease International, for its part, called on PAHO Member States to research and combat this disease and pointed out that in the Region of the Americas there are more people living with dementia than with HIV.