ECDA welcomes UN discussion on non-communicable diseases
27 September 2011
The European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA)  says it
welcomes the UN High Level Meeting on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
to address the world biggest killers.
“It is a memorable day in the history of public health.
Discussing non communicable diseases at the UN table gives a strong
sense of the burden it represents to human kind and the recognition
that NCDs is a challenge for all nations in the world”, declared
Professor Michel Komajda, President of the European Society of
Cardiology, an active member of the ECDA.
Non-communicable diseases — a group of conditions that includes
cardiovascular diseases, cancer, kidney disease, liver disease,
diabetes mellitus, chronic respiratory disease and musculoskeletal
conditions — remain the leading cause of death in Europe, accounting
for 86% of deaths and 77% of the disease burden in the WHO European
Over the last year, the European Chronic Disease Alliance
mobilised European and national leaders, calling for a strong final
declaration on the fight of non communicable diseases.
The ECDA had high expectations, in particular on clear and
ambitious targets that nations could adhere to. Unfortunately, the
proposal to reduce non-communicable disease by 25% by 2025 did not
survive the negotiations. Nor did the proposals on salt reduction or
on the accountability of member states, that the ECDA strongly
advocated for in Europe  In addition, calls for enforceable
targets to limit the harmful consumption of alcohol were also
“What gets measured gets done”, said Susanne Løgstrup, quoting
the Director-General of WHO from the European Heart Network, one of
the founding members of the ECDA. “Failing to have measurable and
timely targets in the final declaration is a bitter disappointment”.
The ECDA will now look at how to implement the UN Political
Declaration, in particular at EU level.
“We must emphasise the role of the scientist in measuring the
success of the UN objectives. We have to work harder to collect data
and improve monitoring and surveillance so that what gets done to
reduce NCDs gets measured. We need to have the right methods, the
right tools to do this, through academic science and methodology.
Scientific and medical societies are best placed to do this and we
must engage in this process”, says Marc Decramer, President of the
European Respiratory Society, an ECDA member.
A more ambitious approach was favoured by Members of the European
Parliament last week, with the vote of a motion for a resolution
that calls for the urgent adoption of NCDs prevention measures
across Europe. 
ECDA says it will continue its efforts to promote a Europe less
vulnerable to chronic diseases and to disseminate its policy
recommendations, much of them only requiring simple and cheap
changes with substantial impact on the diseases burden.
UN website for the High-level Meeting on Non-communicable
1. Members of the European Chronic Disease Alliance are:
- European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL);
- European CanCer Organisation (ECCO);
- European Heart Network (EHN);
- European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA);
- European Respiratory Society (ERS);
- European Society of Cardiology (ESC);
- European Society of Hypertension (ESH);
- European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO);
- Federation of European Nurses in Diabetes (FEND);
- International Diabetes Federation – European Region (IDF
2. Chronic non-communicable diseases cause 86% of all deaths in
- upto 40% of the EU population aged over 15 report a
long-standing health problem related to chronic non-communicable
- upto 80% of healthcare expenses are allocated to chronic
diseases — in other words cost of chronic non-communicable
diseases are in the billions of euros every year; cardiovascular
diseases alone are estimated to cost the EU economy over 192
billion euros every year;
- four factors account for a majority of the burden of chronic
non-communicable diseases: tobacco, poor diets, alcohol and lack
of physical activity;
- the majority of chronic non-communicable diseases can be
- population wide NCD prevention is consistently cost-saving.
4. Motion for a resolution on the European Union position and
commitment in advance to the UN high-level meeting on the prevention
and control of NCDs, 12.9.2011, B7-0488/2011