Warning from WHO against rising trend in non-communicable diseases

WHO has released its World Health Statistics 2023 report, which includes new figures on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the latest statistics on progress towards health-related sustainable development goals.

According to the report, which includes data up to 2022, compared to the trends seen in 2000-2015, there has been a stagnation in health progress in recent years.

It warned of the growing threat of climate change and noncommunicable diseases, and called for joint action on this issue.

336.8 million people worldwide died in 2020-2021 due to COVID-19.

While there have been significant developments in maternal and child health since 2000, maternal mortality has decreased by one third and child mortality has decreased by half.

While the rate of communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria has decreased, this has contributed to the increase in life expectancy from 67 in 2000 to 73 in 2019.

While the pandemic has had a negative impact on many health-related indicators, it has also resulted in inequalities in access to high-quality healthcare, routine vaccinations and financial protection. Thus, while trends in recovery in malaria and tuberculosis have reversed, fewer people have been treated for neglected tropical diseases.

Despite advances in overall health, the rate of deaths from noncommunicable diseases has steadily increased each year and still accounts for three-quarters of all deaths per year.

Call for investment in health and healthcare systems

If this trend continues, it is estimated that about 86 percent of the 90 million deaths per year by 2050 will be due to noncommunicable diseases. Since 2019, there has been a nearly 90 percent increase in deaths from noncommunicable diseases.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, commented in the report, “World Health Statistics is WHO’s annual report on the state of health in the world. The report is an infectious disease that places a tremendous and increasing cost on lives, livelihoods, health systems, communities, economies and societies. It sends a clear message about the threat of disease that does not exist,” he said.

Ghebreyesus also stressed that the report calls for a substantial increase in investments in health and health systems to reorient towards WHO’s sustainable development goals.

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