Noncommunicable diseases, or NCDs for short, are diseases you can’t just catch; they are caused by various risk factors. Some examples of NCDs are heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and cancer. NCDs are a major threat to global health and development.
These diseases are spreading at a rapid rate in the poorest countries, not just in the developed world. And, it just so happens that tobacco use is the ONE risk factor common to all four main groups of NCDs.. So global tobacco control measures would help achieve global development goals, curb NCDs, and save countless lives.
Fortunately, there is a great tool for governments to decrease tobacco use worldwide. That tool is called the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, or the FCTC. Using the FCTC is the most effective way to prevent and combat NCDs.
Yesterday, Laurent and I attended a side event hosted by the NCD Alliance, the US Government, and the NCD Roundtable called Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Building Synergies for Sustainable Development.
The NCD Alliance event had some of the most accomplished and noted people from the NCD community in attendance last night.
However, we need to get the rest of the sustainable development community on board. NCDs and tobacco use are impediments to development.
The moderator, Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, asked if there were any presidents or prime ministers in the room. None were. We need to ensure that the decision makers for the post-2015 development agenda understand and are in support of the NCD movement. We also need to ensure that we are working in synergy.
In the words of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, “Focus, strategize, and mobilize.”