ROME – 11 April 2011 – IDLO Acting Director-General, Mr. Jeffrey S. Waldron, today called for legal reform and capacity building to address the growing crisis of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), particularly in developing and transitional countries.
NCDs, mainly heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers, and chronic respiratory disease, are responsible for two out of every three deaths worldwide and the toll is rising. Over half of all people in developing and transitional countries will die from NCDs, many prematurely - under 60 years of age. NCDs also incur a heavy burden on the families of the sick and dying. In addition, many patients suffer without adequate pain relief.
Mr. Waldron’s statement follows the publication last week by eminent public health experts in The Lancet of a short list of five priority interventions for tackling the increasing global NCD crisis. Reducing tobacco and salt use, improving diets and physical activity, reducing hazardous alcohol intake, and achieving universal access to essential drugs and technologies have been chosen for their health effects, cost-effectiveness, low costs of implementation, and political and financial feasibility.
“The law is a crucial part of the response for each of the expert groups’ recommendations,” Mr. Waldron notes. “Many countries need support to reform and implement the necessary laws, which includes law reform on tobacco control as well as the regulation of alcohol and labeling of food products for sugar, salt, and fat content. Access to drugs for palliative care must also be expanded. Small and island States need particular attention. Historically, laws have played a crucial role in some of the greatest achievements in public health.”
The full article in The Lancet can be accessed online