The Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce called on the 11,000 World Congress of Cardiology delegates in Dubai, and the cardiovascular disease (CVD) community at large, to support the adoption of a global goal to reduce premature non-communicable disease (NCD) mortality by 25 per cent by 2025. The Task Force which is made up of leadership from the world's largest CVD organizations including the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, European Heart Network, European Society of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation is committed to reducing the global burden of CVD.
As the leading cause of death worldwide, NCDs are responsible for more than 36 million deaths each year. Nearly half of these - 17.3 million - are due to CVD, a number that fails to fully reflect the social and economic impact on families, communities and countries. Yet NCDs and CVD specifically, continues to be viewed as a "lifestyle" disease primarily afflicting those in high-income countries. In fact, the greatest CVD burden falls on low- and middle-income countries where 80% of all CVD deaths occur and is increasingly impacting people during their most productive years. The enormous human and financial cost associated with CVD led to a joint CVD effort to bring CVD and other NCDs to the attention of global leaders outside of the traditional health sector.
This call was answered in September 2011 when world leaders gathered for the second ever United Nations High-level Meeting on a health issue, to discuss the growing epidemic of NCDs and make a concerted commitment to halt and reverse the NCD burden. Formalized in a Political Declaration on NCDs, governments made a set of commitments to reduce this burden through a comprehensive framework inclusive of global targets.
"The set of global targets and indicators to be reviewed and potentially adopted at the World Health Assembly - the annual General Meeting of the World Health Organization in Geneva - is the first and most important step in creating global change," said American Heart Association CEO, Nancy Brown. Task force member and President of the World Heart Federation Professor Sidney C. Smith Jr., continued: "The Global CVD Taskforce strongly supports keeping the first target of reducing premature NCD mortality 25 percent by 2025 and are aligning with the broader NCD community in renaming it an overarching goal. A global mortality goal will provide a shared vision of NCDs for all stakeholders and ensure that the world works together to address this global burden."
Under the direction of the WHO, relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments, were invited to comment up until 19 April on these proposed targets. "With CVD as the largest single contributor to global mortality and accounting for nearly half of the 36 million NCD deaths, achieving these goals will require partnerships at all levels" stated David Wood of the European Society of Cardiology. "We have the opportunity of a lifetime to make meaningful change in our home, country, and in the world by calling for the global target, or goal, of a 25 per cent reduction in premature NCD mortality by 2025."
"The truly devastating impact of cardiovascular diseases to families and economies, requires immediate action on the part of all stakeholders - most notably the World Health Organization" said Dr William Zoghbi, President of the American College of Cardiology.
"Health is central to a country's economic growth" says Dr Hans Stam, President of the European Heart Network, "and its significance in sustainable development can no longer be ignored. Health cannot be neglected and it is our hope that Member States answer this call."