WHO members agree to global framework to monitor noncommunicable diseases

The framework consists of nine voluntary global targets and 25 indicators to prevent illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. The WHO hopes the monitoring network can assess the progress made against such diseases and the corresponding response of national health systems to their threat.

The member states agreed to the proposed targets and indicators during a three day meeting held in Geneva. There were 119 WHO member states in attendance, as well as representatives from the African Union, the European Union and several nongovernmental organizations.

"The new global monitoring framework will enable us to assess progress across regional and country settings and to monitor trends," Dr. Bjørn-Inge Larsen, the chairman of the formal WHO meeting, said. "The agreed voluntary targets are aspirational but achievable and they will drive progress in prevention and control at national, regional and global levels."

The World Health Assembly had already agreed to one of the global voluntary targets - a 25 percent reduction in premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases by 2025.

"The indicators and voluntary global targets are key building blocks of our fight against NCDs," Dr. Oleg Chestnov, the WHO's assistant director-general for noncommunicable diseases and mental health, said. "They will provide the foundation for advocacy, raising awareness, reinforcing political commitment and promoting global action to tackle these deadly diseases."