Noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors

Management of noncommunicable diseases

The “NVI Year in Review 2018” offers highlights from the work of WHO’s Department for the Management of NCDs, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention (NVI). Conducted in close collaboration with colleagues from across WHO as well as hundreds of other partners, activities include managing hypertension in India and providing medicines to treat cancer in Yemen; issuing new guidance for the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases; hosting high-profile advocacy events like the Third UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs; and announcing new initiatives, including the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer. Partners are thanked for working with us and for sharing our vision of enabling people to live healthier, more productive lives.

New guidance released on managing cancer pain, a major cause of unnecessary suffering

31 January 2019 ¦ GENEVA: Ahead of World Cancer Day (4 February), the World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidance on managing cancer pain, with a view to improving the health sector response and ending the needless suffering of cancer patients. Around the world, pain is experienced by more than half (55%) of patients undergoing treatment for cancer and two thirds (66%) of people with advanced or terminal cancer. The WHO Guidelines for the pharmacologic and radiotherapeutic management of cancer pain in adults and adolescents provide evidence-based guidance to health-care providers on appropriate approaches to the medical and radiotherapeutic management of cancer pain. This includes guidance on the choice of analgesic medicines (painkillers); the use of adjuvant medicines (steroids), and specific techniques for treating pain from bone metastases (bisphosphonates and radiotherapy).

WHO kicks off global initiative to treat children with cancer

In September 2018, the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer was announced, with the aim of helping countries reach at least a 60% survival rate for children with cancer by 2030, through increased prioritization of childhood cancer and an expanded capacity to deliver best practice in childhood cancer care. Cancer is a leading cause of death for children, with 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Children with cancer in low- and middle-income countries are four times more likely to die of the disease than children in high-income countries. This is because their illnesses are not diagnosed, they are often forced to abandon treatment due to high costs, and health professionals lack specialized training. The Initiative will be achieved with support from a host of partners.

The 71st World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on rheumatic heart disease

May 2018: The 71st World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on rheumatic heart disease. 26 Member States and 6 NGOs spoke in support of the resolution, recognizing that rheumatic heart disease remains a significant public health concern in many countries, affecting around 30 million people and causing 305,000 deaths annually. It is some of the world's most vulnerable people, including children who live in poverty, who are afflicted with the illness. Building the capacities of the primary health care workforce to respond to the disease and ensuring reliable access to life-saving diagnostics and treatment are a vital part of the response. A comprehensive approach to prevention and control of the disease in endemic countries is needed.

On World Heart Day WHO calls for accelerated action to prevent the world’s leading global killer

September 2017. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) take the lives of 17.7 million people every year, 31% of all global deaths. Triggering these diseases are tobacco smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol. These in turn show up in people as raised blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and overweight and obesity. Through the Global Hearts Initiative, WHO is supporting governments to scale-up efforts on CVD prevention and control through three technical packages: MPOWER for tobacco control, SHAKE for salt reduction and HEARTS for strengthening CVD management in primary health care. Launched in September 2016, the initiative has been rolled out in several countries, where health workers are being trained to better deliver tested and affordable measures to protect people from CVDs and help them recover following a heart attack or stroke. A new global initiative - Resolve to Save Lives - will give renewed impetus to these efforts.

HEARTS technical package for cardiovascular disease management in primary health care

March 2017. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. The HEARTS technical package represents a strategic and practical approach to reducing the number of premature deaths from CVDs by improving clinical preventive services in primary health care using highly effective, scalable, sustainable and proven interventions. It involves a public health approach to CVD management that will improve access, particularly in settings with significant resource limitations, by systematically addressing barriers to care.

Guide to cancer early diagnosis

February 2017. In resource-poor settings, cancer is often diagnosed at a late-stage of disease resulting in lower survival and higher treatment costs. Even in countries with strong health systems and services, many cancer cases are diagnosed at a late-stage. Addressing delays in cancer diagnosis and inaccessible treatment is therefore critical in all settings for cancer control. This WHO Guide to cancer early diagnosis aims to help policy-makers and programme managers facilitate timely diagnosis and improve access to cancer treatment for all.