Non-communicable Diseases

Non-communicable diseases are the leading global causes of death, causing more than all other diseases combined, and striking hardest at the world's low- and middle-income populations. To a large extent, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are caused by four behavioural risk factors arising from economic transition: rapid urbanization and 21st-century lifestyles namely tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and the harmful use of alcohol.

People of lower social positions are disproportionally affected by NCDs; and together with poverty, create a vicious cycle whereby poverty exposes people to risk factors of NCDs and, in turn, the resulting NCDs become an important driver to the spiral that leads communities into poverty.

NCDs also have a significant impact on the viability and sustainability of health care systems around the world; and have the potential to reduce economic prosperity and productivity. In less developed countries, citizens have the added impediment with limited access to effective and equitable health care services.

In this important subtheme the focus of attention and call for abstracts is in line with the priorities of the WHO Global Status Report on Non-Communicable Disease namely: national approaches to NCDs; surveillance and monitoring; multisectoral actions; mechanisms to strengthen health care systems; prevention and control of NCDs; effective advocacy models; and evidence based interventions. [http://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd_report_full_en.pdf]