Community-based prevention of noncommunicable diseases: Key messages

On commitment and leadership to raise the priority of NCDS on the public health agenda:

  • It is estimated that poor diets, lack of exercise, smoking and excessive alcohol intake are major factors behind the deaths of a staggering 100,000 people every day.
  • Governments must urgently scale up NCD interventions to bring about the radical changes that are needed.
  • NCDs require multi-stakeholders solutions. No one single player working in silo can tackle the challenges of NCD alone.
  • Communities have the right to receive appropriate information on reducing the risk of NCDs and accordingly should be empowered to take the right lifestyle choices.
  • Civil society is well placed to mobilize political and public awareness and support against NCDs.
  • Key stakeholders need to address some of the fundamental issues in relation to NCDS – there is a duty to put forward solutions to NCDs and outline what is needed to make these solutions work.

On the effects of NCDs:

  • Four out of five people suffering from NCDs (cancer, diabetes, heart or lung diseases) live in poor countries.
  • In wealthy countries, heart disease and strokes are claiming significantly less lives; cancer patients are being cured or surviving longer and people with diabetes have better access to effective and essential treatments. In poor countries, people with similar diseases fall sicker sooner and die earlier.
  • NCDs are barriers to poverty reduction, health equity, economic stability, and human security.
  • Today, not one single family on earth today is left unaffected by NCDs in one way or another.
  • The poorest are more vulnerable to NCDs and carry double the burden as most of the care is covered through out-of-pocket payments, leading to catastrophic medical expenditures exacerbating their social and economic situations dramatically.
  • A holistic approach to physical and mental well-being is the best way to promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Women are vulnerable to a range of NCDs and are disproportionately affected as caregivers. Empowering women by giving them greater means and opportunities to promote healthy lifestyles in their families is a way forward.

On a multi-stakeholder response:

  • NCDs are played out in homes and communities. Broader community-based engagement is key to prevent NCDs.
  • Volunteers play an important role in NCDs community-based prevention.
  • The Red Cross Red Crescent complements governments’ actions in NCDs and in partnership with the private sector are major actors in behaviour change – promoting healthy lifestyles.
  • Essential NCDs treatments should be taken into account while preparing, responding, and recovering from emergencies
  • Research is important, not only for the development of new affordable and effective diagnostics, treatment and care of NCDs, but also as a crucial tool to display cases of evidence-based approaches that ultimately bring about healthy behaviour changes.
  • The Red Cross Red Crescent calls for a radical shift in approach that will revolutionize NCD prevention, early detection and timely treatment through cross-sector cooperation that makes best use of available information and technology targeting local communities in the world’s poorest countries.
  • The Red Cross Red Crescent will actively promote highly cost-effective “best buys”: physical exercise, alcohol and tobacco control, and healthy diet.