Including Non Communicable Diseases in the Millennium Development Goals

Although cancer kills more people globally in low and middle income countries (LMIC) than malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS combined, obtaining global funding for cancer control initiatives is still extraordinarily difficult because cancer, like other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), is excluded from the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As a result, many of the resources needed for the management of cancer are absent and will remain so as long as NCDs are excluded from the MDGs.

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The WHO has set up a Non Communicable Diseases Network (NCDnet) to inform organizations about the global debate on NCDs. In response to NCDnet, leading NCD global federations including UICC, World Heart Federation, International Diabetes Federation, and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease created a NGO campaign group called the NCD Alliance to advocate the extension of the MDGs to include NCDs. INCTR, in support of the NCD Alliance, asked its Branches and Offices to write their national leaders for their support at the UN level to call for change in the MDGs.

Following these joint efforts, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on May 13th 2010 on the prevention and control of NCDs, which seeks to halt the increasing trends in premature deaths from NCDs worldwide, with a particular focus on developing countries. The resolution calls on Member States and the international community to convene a high-level meeting of the General Assembly in September 2011, with the participation of Heads of State and Government, on the prevention and control of NCDs.

The week after the UN resolution was passed, INCTR’s Director for Program Development, Mark Lodge attended the 63rd World Health Assembly in Geneva, thanks to the support of the American Cancer Society. He met with the leadership of the NGO campaign group, NCD Alliance and with representatives of the Framework Convention Alliance (for tobacco control) to discuss the preparations of the UN high-level summit on NCDs. It is hoped that participants in the upcoming summit will press for the inclusion of at least one MDG Indicator relating to NCDs.

UK advocacy website and WHO video

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