In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognised for the first time, that cancer is now the second leading cause of mortality globally, responsible for 8.8 million deaths per year. This is part of a much larger growth in the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are now responsible for 70% of global mortality. Given that we have seen the greatest increases in low- and middle-income countries, cancer and NCDs pose a significant threat to global health and development. In response, the United Nations will convene a third High-level Meeting in September 2018 for governments to review progress on NCDs and identify further actions countries can take to meet the global goal of reducing premature mortality from NCDs by 25% by 2025.
In advance of this meeting, the Government of Uruguay is hosting a meeting focusing on policy coherence as mechanism to foster stronger collaborations on NCDs across different government sectors. This recognises that, if we are going to achieve the 25x25 target and Sustainable Development Goal 3.4, allied departments in governments, such as education, finance, urban planning and transport, will need to develop plans that include NCD control measures. This event is an important opportunity for cancer advocates as it will be the first meeting of governments ahead of the High-level Meeting, and therefore the first opportunity to stress the need for strong national action to implement the 2017 cancer resolution and reduce the national cancer and NCD burden.
More information about the conference, including the programme of workshops and speakers, can be found here.
A critical tool to achieve this are national cancer control plans (NCCPs). There has been significant progress in the development of NCCPs, with 71% of countries having plans in place. These plans provide the ideal platform for policy coherence, to engage new stakeholders and identify shared wins and responsibilities across government. In Slovakia, the Public Health Agency, Ministry of Education and Slovak League Against Cancer have a longer collaboration health education on cancer risk factors in schools, particularly focusing on the need to increase physical activity and reduce alcohol use.
As the cancer and NCD community, we now need to stress the importance of NCCPs as the foundation for a comprehensive, cost-effective and coherent national cancer response to reduce the global cancer and NCD burden. Will you join us in advocating for strong national action on cancer and NCDs, ahead of the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs in 2018?
If you are planning on attending the Uruguay meeting, please contact email@example.com and we would be happy to share our briefing document on cancer in the Uruguay conference with you.