On the occasion of the First Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs), to be held in Moscow on 28-29 April 2011, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is working to define the potential role of its network in dealing effectively with premature death and preventable morbidity and disability from NCDs such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease.
Dr Stefan Seebacher, head of the IFRC’s health department, said it was time to review the Federation’s policy on NCDs. “We strongly believe that including NCDs in our health programs is consistent with our Red Cross Red Crescent Strategy 2020 to enable healthy and safe living. NCDs remain a barrier to poverty reduction, health equity, economic stability, and human security,” he said.
Currently, NCDs account for 60 per cent of all deaths globally, with 80 per cent of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
Overall, proven cost-effective strategies do exist to prevent and control this growing burden. In order to successfully put such strategies in place, the IFRC will need to integrate its NCDs plan into community health programs. This is already being implemented by a number of National Societies, which will enable a much wider outreach. The IFRC will also ensure that each country program is specifically tailored to match the context in which they will be implemented.
Dr Ayham Alomari, IFRC senior health officer, said: “Today we reckon that there is a need, and that our Red Cross Red Crescent network is willing to be more operational in such a field. The biggest challenge will be raising the priority at all levels and securing the necessary funding to make this happen.”
For further information, please contact
In Geneva: Sadia Kaenzig – IFRC senior adviser, health communications
+41 79 2173386, firstname.lastname@example.org