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Thematic guide: Noncommunicable diseases


Raising the priority given to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in health and development has been a key priority for WHO since the development of the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of NCDs (2000) and the endorsement of its Action Plan by the World Health Assembly in 2008. Our thematic guide to internet resources leads you beyond the limits of the Medicus Mundi International Network. Any important resources missing? Please let us know. For MMI Network resources, please also refer to our "Control major diseases" main page. 

Thematic leaders and global coordination mechanisms

  • WHO: Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster (NMH)

    "The mission of the Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster (NMH) is to provide leadership and the evidence base for international action on surveillance, prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, mental health disorders, malnutrition, violence and injuries, and disabilities. Working jointly with Regional and Country Offices, the NMH Cluster supports Member States in promotiong health and in preventing premature death and disability from these conditions by addressing their risk factors and determinants and improving health care and rehabilitation services."

  • NCD Alliance
    "The NCD Alliance was founded by four international NGO federations representing the four main NCDs – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease.  Together with other major international NGO partners, the NCD Alliance unites a network of over 2,000 civil society organizations in more than 170 countries.  The mission of the NCD Alliance is to combat the NCD epidemic by putting health at the centre of all policies."
  • WHO Global coordination mechanism for NCDs
    "The WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs envisages to facilitate and enhance coordination of activities, multistakeholder engagement and action across sectors in order to contribute to the implementation of the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013–2020."

  • UN Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases
    "The United Nations Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, which the Secretary-General established in June 2013 and placed under the leadership of WHO, is coordinating the activities of the relevant UN organizations and other inter-governmental organizations to support the realization of the commitments made by Heads of State and Government in the 2011 Political Declaration on NCDs, in particular through the implementation of the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013–2020. The Task Force’s terms of reference were adopted by ECOSOC in July 2014."


Key references and resources

UN General Assembly


WHO : Global NCD Action Plan

  • 2013 WHO Global Action Plan on NCDs
    The action plan provides a road map and a menu of policy options for countries to take coordinated and coherent action to attain the 9 voluntary global targets, including that of a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases by 2025





  • be updated


2011: UN NCD Summit 

  • United Nations High-level Meeting on noncommunicable disease prevention and control (UN NCD Summit)
    New York, 19-20 September 2011
  • WHO global forum: Addressing the challenge of noncommunicable diseases.
    Moscow, 27 April 2011

Noncommunicable and chronic diseases: papers and positions

  • A New Global Health Agenda
    Edward E. Partridge et al., 4 October 2011
  • Big tobacco, the food & beverage industry are not civil society
    Gregg Gonsalves, 27 September 2011
  • Reflections on the UN High-Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases
    J. Stephen Morrison, 26 September 2011
  • UN NCD Summit: Empty words don't save lives
    "Erika' blog" on imaxi, 12 September 2011
  • NCDs: Public health policy at the mercy of corporate greed
    Boyd Swinburn in: National Times (Australia), September 2011
  • Informing the 2011 UN session on noncommunicable diseases: Applying lessons from the AIDS response
    Peter Lamptey et al. in: PLoS Medicine, September 2011
  • Tackling NCDs: a different approach is needed
    "Describing the rising prevalence of NCDs as a crisis makes for good drama, but misleads us into thinking that this problem is amenable to a quick fix. (...) Much has been learned from vertical disease-oriented programmes. Evidence suggests however that better outcomes occur by addressing diseases through an integrated approach in a strong primary care system."  Jan De Maeseneer et al. in: The Lancet, September 2011 - payment or subscription required
  • Non-Communicable Diseases: Will industry influence derail UN summit?
    Deborah Cohen in: BMJ, August 2011
  • UN high level meeting on non-communicable diseases: an opportunity for whom? David Stuckler et al. in: BMJ, August 2011 or PDF on
  • Framing international trade and chronic disease
    R Labonte et al. in: Globalization and Health, July 2011
  • Expectations for the United Nations high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases
    Devi Sridhar et al in: WHO Bulletin, July 2011
  • Bringing African priorities to global action on NCDs
    Rene Loewenson in: Health Diplomacy Monitor, June 2011, P. 15-18 (pdf)
  • UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases: addressing four questions
    Robert Beaglehole et al. in: Lancet (2011) - see also:
  • Rethinking health-care systems: a focus on chronicity
    Pascale Allotey et al. in: The Lancet (2011)
  • Getting the politics right for the September 2011 UN High-level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases
    Devi Sridhar et al., SCIS report (2011, pdf)
  • Raising the priority of preventing chronic diseases: A political process
    Robert Geneau et al. in: The Lancet (2010)
  • The hope and the promise of the UN Resolution on non-communicable diseases
    George Alleyne, David Stuckler, Ala Alwan in: Globalization & Health (2010, PDF)
  • Health transition in Africa: practical policy proposals for primary care
    D Maher et al. in: Bulletin of the World Health Organization (2010)
  • Where have all the donors gone? Scarce donor funding for non-communicable diseases
    Rachel Nugent and Andrea B. Feigl, CGDev Working Paper 228 (2010)

Conferences: announcements and documentations

  • United Nations High-level Meeting on noncommunicable disease prevention and control (UN NCD Summit)
    New York, 19-20 September 2011
  • WHO global forum: Addressing the challenge of noncommunicable diseases.
    Moscow, 27 April 2011
  • WHO Europe: Regional high-level consultation on non-communicable diseases, 25-26 November 2010 in Oslo
  • WHO: Informal dialogue with the NGO sector on the way forward to the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Non-communicable Diseases
    Geneva, 1 November 2010 (Report, PDF)
  • The emerging burden of chronic diseases and its impact on developing countries
    15–16 April 2010, Copenhagen (Conference Report, World Diabetes Foundation, PDF)
  • NCDnet: First Global Forum
    24 February 2010, Geneva
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