Alcohol and Non-communicable diseases (NCD)
In 2011 the United Nations High Level Meeting on NCDs demonstrated a global consensus around the need to develop and implement prevention strategies and control the disease burden related to alcohol and three other major health-risk factors: tobacco, unhealthy foods, and lack of physical exercise. The four disease categories addressed by the UN’s NCD initiative include cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, and diabetes. Although NCDs are commonly perceived as problems of more wealthy countries, a significant portion of the disease burden from NCDs actually occurs in low- and middle-income countries.
New NCD report:
World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new Global Status Report on Nonommunicable Diseases (NCDs). The report states that most premature NCD deaths are preventable. Of the 38 million lives lost to NCDs in 2012, 16 million or 42% were premature and avoidable – up from 14.6 million in 2000.
New cancer code:
The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the European Commission has released an updated 4th edition of the European Code Against Cancer. The Code points at alcohol use as one of the significant risk factors. Still public awareness around this link is alarmingly low.
UNDP Discussion Paper:
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has recently issued a Discussion Paper titled "Addressing the Social Determinants of Noncommunicable Diseases". It offers a typology of multisectoral action on NCDs and a framework for actors outside the health sector to take action.
The 66th World Health Assembly opened in Geneva today. One of the main issues is how the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD) will be handled in the future. Referring to the difference between malaria and NCDs the Director General of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, in her opening speech stated that “Mosquitoes do not have front groups, and mosquitoes do not have lobbies.”
The new tsunami of non-communicable diseases:
“We experience a tsunami of new non-communicable diseases. We have got no option. We must put our efforts into prevention by promoting healthy lifestyles”. With these words the South African Minister of Health, Hon Aaron Motsoaledi opened the a WHO meeting on NCDs in Johannesburg.
Experts have known since 1987 that alcohol can cause cancer, but the connection between the two is often unknown or ignored, both by the general public and by health professionals and NGOs. To compensate for this Eurocare and the Association of European Cancer Leagues have now launched a web resource on alcohol as a risk factor for cancer.
The United Nations High Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases in New York recently adopted a Political Declaration calling for greater measures at global, regional and national levels to prevent and control NCDs.
An editorial by Robin Room, Jürgen Rehm and Charles Parry in the journal Addiction points to the September High Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly as an occasion to remedy the relative lack of action on alcohol in reducing the burden of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD).
Lack of clarity on role of industry for UN NCD meeting
79 NGOs from various sectors have issued a statement of concern to the President of the UN General Assembly. The NGOs are concerned about the lack of clarity of roles for the industry sector in the recently held UN interactive hearing for civil society and the UN High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCD) in September.
Global Alcohol Policy Alliance brief:
Addressing harmful use of alcohol is essential to realising the goals of the UN Political Declaration non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
Leading up to the UN High Level Meeting on Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCD), the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance has issued a brief positioning alcohol firmly in the NCD agenda.