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Reduction of alcohol related harm among global WHO targets to improve health

WHO Member States have agreed on the first ever global monitoring framework to fight Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) during a meeting earlier this month (5-7 November) in Geneva.

The overall global voluntary target is to reduce premature death and mortality due to NCDs by 25% by 2025.

NCDs, also known as chronic diseases, are of long duration and generally slow progression causing a considerable cost to the public expenditure. World Economic Forum and Harvard School of Public Health estimated that NCDs will cause economic output loss of US$ 47 trillion over the next two decades. NCDs kill more than 36 million people each year of which 14 million are under the age of 70 years old.

Alcohol is 1 of the main 4 risk factors for developing NCDs. The European region has the highest rate of deaths from NCDs and the highest overall alcohol consumption.

The proposed framework includes 9 voluntary global targets and 25 indicators to prevent and control NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.

The 9 voluntary global targets are aimed at combating premature mortality from NCDs, harmful use of alcohol, tobacco use, physical inactivity, salt/sodium intake, raised blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, promoting drug therapy and counseling, and medicines and technologies for NCDs.

The 25 indicators are aimed at measuring premature mortality, cancer incidence, harmful use of alcohol, low fruit and vegetable intake, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, raised blood glucose, raised blood pressure, raised total cholesterol, salt/sodium intake, tobacco use, fat intake, cervical cancer screening, drug therapy and counseling to prevent heart attacks and strokes, essential NCD medicines and technologies, palliative care, policies to reduce the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, vaccination against hepatitis B, policies to eliminate partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from food supply, and vaccination against human papillomavirus.

The global monitoring framework will now be considered first by the WHO Executive Board during its 132nd session in January 2013 and then be submitted to the World Health Assembly in May 2013, for consideration and adoption.

Throughout the consultation process Eurocare has been advocating for:

- The formulation of target of "10% relative reduction in per capita consumption of litres of pure alcohol among persons aged 15+ years"

- The use of the WHO Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and its target areas as the principal point of reference for Member States in order to tackle alcohol related harm through cost effective interventions

- the emphasis on the population based interventions which address NCD risk factors

- the implementation of NCD ‘Best Buys’ interventions in relation to alcohol (tax increases on alcoholic beverages, comprehensive restrictions and bans on alcohol marketing, restrictions on the availability of retailed alcohol)

Click on the title below to read full Eurocare contributions to the consultation process

Eurocare input to Second WHO consultation on monitoring framework and target for the prevention and control of NCDs (April 2012)

Eurocare input to WHO consultation on Global Action Plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2012-2020 (September 2012)

Eurocare input to Third WHO discussion paper on monitoring framework, including indicators, and a set of voluntary global targets for the prevention and control of and NCDs (October 2012)

Eurocare response to WHO consultation on zero draft global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases 2013-2020 (October 2012)