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Feature Non-Communicable Diseases

Targets for non-communicable disease: what has happened since the UN summit?

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 21 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3300
  1. Joyce K Ho, Stanford-NBC news media and global health fellow,
  2. Rajaie Batniji, Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health fellow
  1. 1Grant Building, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
  1. Correspondence to: J K Ho joyceho613{at}

This week’s World Health Assembly will again discuss targets for non-communicable diseases. Joyce K Ho and Rajaie Batniji examine the difficulties of getting an agreement

Back in September 2011, health ministers from 194 countries around the world met in New York under the auspices of the United Nations. Their aim was to put non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, cancer, lung and heart disease, on the international health agenda. NCDs are currently the biggest killers in the world, causing 63% of all global deaths in 2008.1 After a series of negotiations, an outcomes document was produced that called upon the World Health Organization to spearhead the development of global targets for controlling NCDs by the end of 2012.2

This week, a year and a half after the UN meeting, the WHO’s annual meeting, the World Health Assembly, should agree on a final set of nine targets and 25 indicators. Only one target has been adopted so far: a 25% reduction in NCD related …

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