Action for Global Health says 90 per cent of under-60s who die of such non-infectious diseases live in the poorest nations in the world.
“Every year, eight million people in developing countries die prematurely of conditions like heart and lung disease,” says Rachel Lander of Interact Worldwide, a UK Action for Global Health partner.
“Evidence shows that if we continue on this path, by 2030 almost half of all deaths in Africa will be caused by such illnesses. Developing nations need more funding to help them fight against this trend, protect their people and economies, and work towards the Millennium Development Goals.”
International leaders are meeting at the United Nations in New York (19-20 September) to come up with a way forward. Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, has called non-infectious diseases “a public health emergency in slow motion”.
“We know that it would cost between US$1-3 per head each year to make sure health programmes in developing countries are capable of delivering essential care for non-communicable diseases, which would dramatically cut rates of conditions like cancer and heart disease,” adds Violaine Gagnet, of French partner Medicins du Monde.
“Evidence shows that health programmes have greater impact when they are led by developing countries themselves. What we need is funding to strengthen local health systems.”
Global leaders will also be addressing the critical shortage of health workers around the world. Internationally, an extra 4.3 million health workers are needed to help fight diseases like cancer and diabetes.
“We want the international community to adhere to the terms of the Global Code of Conduct on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel,” adds Gagnet. “It is being diluted and ignored and this serious problem is simply not being addressed.”
Action for Global Health is calling on world leaders to:
- Ensure developing countries have the human resources necessary to tackle Non-Communicable Diseases as an integrated part of country-led health strategies, by implementing the WHO Code of Conduct on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel
- Respect existing international funding commitments needed to reach the 0.7% target by 2015 and ensure that 0.1% of Official Development Assistance is dedicated to health sector. At the same time, the EU should support the introduction of an European tax on financial transactions with revenue allocated to development and climate and not only for national and European budgets
- Strengthening accountability by publishing full details of official development assistance for health (commitments as well as disbursements) and reaffirming commitments made in the Paris Principles and the Accra Agenda for Action.