American Heart Association Calls for Progress on Noncommunicable Diseases at 65th World Health Assembly

May 22, 2012 Categories: Advocacy News
Geneva, Switzerland, May 21, 2012 — At this week’s 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva, the American Heart Association and other leading health organizations will urge Member States to set a global target to reduce mortality from noncommunicable diseases or NCDs, the world’s leading cause of death. 

“A global target to reduce noncommunicable diseases 25 percent by 2025 would signal a strong commitment to tackling the human suffering and economic costs associated with these highly preventable illnesses,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “A target would remind world governments that we can no longer ignore noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.” 

The assembly is the first major opportunity for world health leaders to review progress since the September high-level summit of the United Nations on NCDs.  At the summit, U.N. Member States unanimously signed a Political Declaration to develop a comprehensive global monitoring framework that includes indicators and voluntary global targets for noncommunicable diseases prevention and control.
The American Heart Association has provided input for the development of these targets and commends Member States for their progress to date.  The last set of World Health Organization targets proposed reductions in hypertension, tobacco use, sodium consumption and physical inactivity.  The adoption of these targets would be applauded by the association and other organizations focused on cardiovascular diseases, the largest contributor to global mortality that accounts for nearly half of the 36 million deaths each year attributed to NCDs diseases.  To date, however, feedback from U.N. Member States, nongovernmental organizations, private entities and other stakeholders indicates varying levels of support for the current WHO targets.
At this week’s assembly, the American Heart Association and the NCD Alliance will co-host a panel presentation that elevates the need to build effective partnerships with leadership from various nations and alliances.  The event will showcase the example of the Preventive Health Partnership, a strategic alliance of the association, the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association.  The goal of the alliance is to produce substantial progress in the prevention and control of these chronic diseases in the United States.

“We hope to demonstrate the advantages of uniting among diseases and ask that civil society have its place at the table given the expertise our organizations have amassed,” said Stephen Prudhomme, Vice President of Global Strategies for the American Heart Association.  Prudhomme will discuss the contributing role Americans can play in the development of a global coordinating platform that can deliver and implement a 2013-2020 WHO Global Plan for Noncommunicable Diseases.
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The association is the United States’ oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit .
Retha Sherrod, (202) 785-7929