Dr Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s Director-General of Health, looks at mobilising actors from across society to make further and faster progress in the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases.
“Effective legislative and regulatory interventions, including the use of taxes, are needed to address the key risk factors for NCDs.”
Great progress has been made in many Commonwealth countries over recent decades to reduce morbidity and early mortality from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). This is the result of sustained effort across the continuum of prevention, early detection, managing conditions, rehabilitation and (where relevant) palliative care.
Key successes vary by country and include: significant reductions in tobacco consumption, improved nutrition, cancer screening programmes, more effective treatments, particularly for cardiovascular disease, mental health conditions and cancers, and better access to high quality palliative care.
However, NCDs remain the largest cause of preventable morbidity and premature death in the Commonwealth, with most of the early deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Given that many of the drivers of this burden of disease are international – for example tobacco and alcohol production, marketing and sales – a global response is warranted, yet to date, the global policy response has not been proportionate to the associated health, economic and social burden…
Dr Ashley Bloomfield
Director-General of Health, New Zealand