According to the Global Status Report on Noncommunicable diseases, NCDs would claim nearly 52 million lives globally by the year 2030. Nearly 8.5 million people died of NCDs diseases in the WHO's South-East Asia Region in 2012.
"This number is expected to grow larger if we do not act now to arrest this epidemic", it said. In India, NCDs are estimated to have accounted for 60 percent of all deaths in 2014, while 26 percent between the ages of 30-70 years had a probability of succumbing to the four diseases. The report highlights the need to act immediately.
It said that all governments must commit and set national NCD targets this year and implement policy and cost-effective interventions for prevention and control of major non-communicable diseases. High rates of death and disease, particularly in low and middle income countries, is a reflection of inadequate investment in cost-effective NCD interventions.
It said that while non-communicable diseases are a global public health challenge, nearly three quarters of the deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. The problem is growing, particularly in the South-East Asia Region, where two out of three deaths are caused by non-communicable diseases, it said.
WHO regional director for South-East Asia region Poonam Khetrapal Singh said nearly half of the deaths due to non-communicable diseases occur in the 30 to 70 years age group. She said most of the premature NCD deaths are preventable. Promoting simple lifestyle changes and diet modifications can prevent non-communicable diseases, she said.
The WHO recommended that all countries implement the "best buys" interventions. The recommendations include "best buys" or cost-effective, high-impact interventions such as banning all forms of tobacco and alcohol advertising, reducing salt consumption, replacing trans fats with polyunsaturated fats, promoting and protecting breastfeeding, early detection and treatment of high blood pressure and preventing cervical cancer through periodic screening.
Among the targets set by the WHO are a 30 percent relative reduction in mean population intake of salt/sodium, a 30 percent relative reduction in prevalence of current tobacco use in persons aged more than 15 years and a 25 percent relative reduction in the prevalence of raised blood pressure or contain the prevalence of raised blood pressure.