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World Bank Report: NCDs are Causing a Health Crisis in South Asia

February 9th, 2011

The World Bank released a report on February 9, 2011, on the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in South Asia. The reduction of poverty in the region means that people are living longer (with life expectancy currently at 64 years and rising), which is great news. But the lifestyle changes associated with better living and longer lives have created new challenges.

South Asian countries, the World Bank warns, are “facing a health crisis with rising rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which disproportionately affect poor families, with possible side effects of disability and premature death, and worsening poverty as people pay for medical treatment out of their own pockets.”

An Exciting Time in the Fight Against NCDs

February 8th, 2011

The last couple of weeks have been tremendous in moving forward the agenda for NCDs. We wanted to bring to your attention some of the highlights.

1) The WEF panel discussion with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and prominent leaders from the private sector and academia contributed greatly to raising the profile of NCDs on the world stage. Panelists recognized the serious threat of chronic diseases, and emphasized that collaboration and leadership at multiple levels (including the UN, government, the private sector and civil society) are needed to create lasting impact. The session was a real step forward in mobilizing the world in advance of the high-level UN meeting on NCDs to take place in September 2011.

2) Another key mobilizing talk was delivered on Feb 2nd in Washington, D.C., by Dr. Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His thoughtful remarks and responses to questions brought the chronic disease community closer together in its resolve to ensure the world addresses NCDs.

Urging World Leaders at Davos to Focus on the Crisis of Chronic Diseases

January 25th, 2011

In Arogya World’s first op-ed, published on The Huffington Post, CEO Nalini Saligram writes:
“This week, more than 30 heads of state will join chief executives from the world’s largest global businesses and leaders of civil society, academia and the media at Davos for the 2011 World Economic Forum. They will work toward developing a global agenda and building solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time. I am encouraged that this year Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), currently the cause of more than 60% of deaths in the world — of which 80% are in the developing world — are on the agenda. It is my fervent hope that the world leaders will come up with some sustainable solutions to the NCD crisis, which had been highlighted by a World Economic Forum report last year as one of the most severe threats to the economy.”

Global Health Groups Organize to Tackle NCDs

January 20th, 2011

We are bringing you two examples of new groups that have formed to organize the global health community around the issue of NCDs in advance of the UN NCD Summit and beyond. 

A major force is emerging in global health and development: the NCD Alliance. They are both organized and organizing through high level advocacy to get the upcoming UN high-level meeting and its Outcomes Document to be as effective as they can be. An important initiative is the Common Interest Group, established by the Alliance to mobilize the chronic disease community and NGOs.

‘The Lancet’ Calls for Immediate Action to Address India’s Health Challenges

January 13th, 2011

Updated January 19, 2011: An important editorial, published in The Hindu, responds to The Lancet’s series on disease in India, noting that the country’s campaign against chronic diseases must move into high gear.

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The much anticipated The Lancet series on health challenges in India, a series of papers on India’s path to universal health coverage, reveals the full extent of the opportunities and difficulties for health in India and points out that “a failing health system is perhaps India’s greatest predicament of all.” While the longstanding health challenges of infectious diseases and maternal and child mortality continue to prevail, in recent years, the incidence of chronic disease in India has skyrocketed – costing millions of lives and having an impact on the national economy that we’re just beginning to understand. And coupled with the “perilously low density of educated health workers across the country” the editors argue, the country’s health is indeed in crisis.

Three members of Arogya World’s Indo-US Scientific Steering Committee, Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, Dr. D. Prabhakaran and Dr. V. Mohan, have papers included in this important and impressive series.

Two-Day UN Summit Will Build a Strong Foundation to Fight NCDs

January 10th, 2011

We recently learned that the UN General Assembly adopted the Modalities Resolution in late Dec 2010, laying out some vital details for the United Nations Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) planned for later this year.

We’re thrilled to report that the Summit will take place on September 19 and 20, 2011, at UN headquarters in New York. The decision to make the Summit two days is a real victory for the chronic disease community, and particularly for the global health leaders, governments and organizations such as the NCD Alliance who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this happen. Arogya World founder Nalini Saligram said, “all roads in the chronic disease world lead to this UN Summit on September 19th and 20th. Now we have dates on which to focus our efforts to rally the world to come together in the fight against NCDs.”

The decision to spend two days on NCDs makes the Summit substantive and gives world leaders sufficient time to deliberate on key NCD issues in three roundtable sessions.

Making Non-Communicable Disease a Priority in 2011

January 5th, 2011

Happy New Year! To kick off 2011, we are highlighting some recent news stories on diabetes and the enormous worldwide burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In the run-up to September’s UN Summit on NCDs, we are working to raise the profile of these important issues, and encourage the world’s leaders to make a strong commitment and serious investment in fighting diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

NCDs Take Center Stage at Major Meetings

December 21st, 2010

Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasingly occupying a central part of the agenda at major world policy and business meetings. The World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit held a panel discussion to highlight the growing burden of non-communicable diseases, on November 14, in Delhi, coincident with World Diabetes Day.

Add Your Voice to Shaping the UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases

December 13th, 2010

This week, the chronic disease community is watching closely and waiting anxiously for the UN Summit Modalities Resolution, in which the United Nations General Assembly will determine the format of the UN Summit on Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs) to be held in September 2011. This summit marks an unprecedented opportunity to raise the profile of these devastating diseases and will bring together leaders from around the world for concrete action on NCDs.

‘Health Affairs’ Highlights Chronic Disease

December 7th, 2010

Released today, the December 2010 issue of Health Affairs offers a number of thoughtful articles focusing on chronic disease. Featuring several studies from different parts of the world, the issue is dedicated to “Battling Chronic Disease Worldwide,” and highlights effective strategies to prevent and treat diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, from Chile to China.

Prevention programs and greater utilization of primary care services, they found, are two of the best strategies to help people live longer, healthier lives while reducing health care spending. Arogya World Advisor Raj Dave comments on a business model for emerging markers.

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