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NCDs Must Be Included In New Global Development Goals

In this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, Johanna Ralston, chief executive of the World Heart Federation, and Ann Keeling, chief executive of the International Diabetes Federation, argue non-communicable diseases (NCDs) must be part of any new global development goals, writing, “NCDs and their risk factors worsen poverty, while poverty contributes to rising rates of NCDs, posing a threat to sustainable development.” They continue, “In 2000, world leaders drafting the millennium development goals (MDGs) addressed many of the great development challenges, but they made one serious mistake: they omitted any mention of NCDs, which together cause nearly two out of three deaths in the world (80 percent of those in developing countries).”

“As the CEOs of the leading advocacy organizations fighting two of those NCDs, we believe this omission has resulted in a double whammy to NCDs — no attention, no funding — despite the fact that NCDs are overwhelmingly a poverty issue and related to all eight MDGs,” they continue. “Human health contributes to, benefits from and measures our progress towards a sustainable future, and it is intuitive that sustainable development cannot be achieved without focusing on health,” they write, adding, “However, since NCDs account for so many global deaths, it is equally true that health cannot be achieved without focusing on NCDs.” They conclude, “Sustainable development will not happen unless we address NCDs. They need to be part of the post-2015 sustainability development goals. Only then can we build the future we want — a healthy future for people and the planet” (9/11).