WHO Summit Tackles Noninfectious Diseases

Posted September 19th, 2011 at 12:20 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations holds a high-level two-day meeting beginning Monday in New York intended on tackling non-communicable diseases such as heart and lung disease, cancer and diabetes.

The World Health Organization says developing nations can prevent and treat millions of cases of these non-communicable diseases for as little as $1.20 per person per year.

The U.N. agency says in a report that non-communicable diseases are the world's top cause of death and that 80 percent of those deaths come in poorer countries. These non-infectious diseases kill about 36 million people every year.

The report says the cost of treating such illnesses is the one of the leading threats to global economic growth and development. Over the next 15 years non-infectious diseases could cost middle and low-income countries more than $7 trillion.

But WHO says measures such as establishing smoke-free offices and public places, campaigns on cutting salt and fat from the diet, and raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol are affordable steps governments can take to prevent millions of deaths.