Non Communicable Disease epidemic in the MENA

Preventing risk behaviours among young people is key to curbing the Non Communicable Disease epidemic in the MENA, according to a new set of Population Reference Bureau(PRB) publications. NCDs are the leading cause of death globally, and they account for 74 percent of all deaths in MENA. These deaths occur at the peak of individuals’ economic productivity, imposing a significant burden on families and health systems, as well as challenging economic growth and sustainable development.
Per Wikipedia, the Population Reference Bureau is a private, non-profit organization that was founded in 1929. The organization specializes in collecting and supplying statistics necessary for research and/or academic purposes. It informs people around the world about population, health, and the environment, and empowers them to use that information to advance the well-being of current and future generations.
This article by Toshiko Kaneda, senior research associate in International Programs at PRB and Sameh El-Saharty, program leader for human development in the Department of the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries at the World Bank is about the MENA would not be clearer than it portends. The often-desperate situation of most parts of the region tend to make us overlook the real facts that there are such things as these noncommunicable disease epidemic like elsewhere in the developing world.

Curbing the Noncommunicable Disease Epidemic in the Middle East and North Africa

Download Policy Report

(December 2017) Preventing risk behaviours among young people is key to curbing the noncommunicable disease (NCD) epidemic in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to a new set of PRB publications.
NCDs are the leading cause of death globally, and they account for 74 percent of all deaths in MENA. The likelihood of dying prematurely from four main NCDs in MENA is 19 percent, compared to 12 percent in higher-income countries globally. These deaths occur at the peak of individuals’ economic productivity, imposing a significant burden on families and health systems, as well as challenging economic growth and sustainable development.
The four principal NCDs threatening MENA are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. They share four behavioural risk factors:
• Tobacco use.
• Physical inactivity.
• Poor diet.
• Harmful use of alcohol.
These modifiable risk behaviours often begin in adolescence and young adulthood. Since young people ages 10 to 24 account for an average of one in four people in MENA, it is crucial to address the risk behaviours of this young cohort to change the trajectory of NCDs in the region.
This package of publications, supported by the AstraZeneca Young Health Programme (YHP), includes a policy report and data sheet that highlight the importance of taking action now to address NCD risk factors among young people in MENA. The report describes the scale and scope of NCDs and their risk factors in MENA; provides examples of promising policy and programmatic interventions for young people; and highlights the need for data collection and rigorous monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs to identify the most effective and sustainable interventions for MENA countries. The data sheet includes the latest available data on the four risk factors among young people for 19 countries and territories across the MENA region.
Downloadable PDFs:
Policy Report.
Data Sheet.

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