Europe forms Non communicable diseases Advisory Council

Europe forms NDCs Advisory Council to inspire and reform prevention and management of NCDs

In response to the growing evidence that the combination of COVID-19 and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) leads to more serious disease outcomes, including death, the WHO Regional Director for Europe has introduced an initiative to dramatically accelerate the response to NCDs and their risk factors across the WHO European Region.

The newly established Advisory Council on Innovation for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD Advisory Council) will inspire action to reach the NCD-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

A new partnership mechanism to boost the fight against NCDs

More than 80% of all deaths in the Region are caused by NCDs, and the trend is even more worrying in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

The major NCD burden is linked to 4 types of diseases: cardiovascular diseases (such as coronary heart disease and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. Poor diets, insufficient physical activity, and the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products push the risk of developing NCDs even higher.

Despite some progress in the reduction of premature mortality and the improvement of life expectancy in many Member States, the Region as a whole is not likely to reach SDG target 3.4, which calls for a reduction of premature mortality from NCDs by one third by 2030.

“Noncommunicable diseases cause major suffering across the entire European Region. They have a negative impact on many aspects of society today – increasing inequalities within populations, undermining social and economic development, and posing significant challenges for the achievement of the SDGs,” says Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

The NCD Advisory Council will reinforce the capacities of WHO/Europe and Member States to fight NCDs. Its first meeting will take place virtually on 14 December. The WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in Moscow, Russian Federation, will act as the Council Secretariat.

International expertise and experience

Members of the NCD Advisory Council include high-level implementers, leading experts and clinical practitioners from governments, academia, think tanks, and professional and civil society organizations. They will combine their disciplines, expertise and experience to reshape the prevention and management of NCDs in the Region.

“With their high level of expertise, diverse perspectives and wide range of practical experience, I am convinced that the WHO/Europe NCD Counsellors will help Member States make a difference in NCD outcomes, contributing to united action for better health,” adds Dr Kluge.  

The key functions of the NCD Advisory Council are to:

  • provide advice for innovative approaches to reduce the prevalence of NCDs in the WHO European Region;
  • recommend specific ways to strengthen collaboration with relevant sectors, partners and stakeholders;
  • provide a forum for sharing policy and technical experience and knowledge; and
  • provide guidance and support to WHO/Europe in shaping the future architecture of the NCD political agenda at European, national and subnational levels.

The work of the NCD Advisory Council is anchored in the European Programme of Work, 2020–2025 – “United Action for Better Health in Europe” (EPW). The core principles of the EPW comprise moving towards universal health coverage, protecting people better against health emergencies, and ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages.