Geneva

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Ambassador Betty E. King, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva {Photo credit: US Mission, Geneva.}Photo credit: US Mission, Geneva.

The World Health Organization (WHO) established a global monitoring framework for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at a Geneva meeting on November 9, 2012 --- a little over a year after the UN General Assembly adopted a political declaration on NCDs.

The chronic disease burden on low- and middle-income countries is vast: 28 million people in developing countries die annually from chronic diseases; yet, 8 million of these deaths are preventable.

Three women gather outside a Tanzanian health center. {Photo credit: M. Paydos/MSH.}Photo credit: M. Paydos/MSH.

The 65th World Health Assembly is convening this week in Geneva, beginning May 21. For six days, the Assembly will focus the world’s attention on chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), universal health coverage, mental disorders, nutrition and adolescent pregnancy, among other health issues.

This is the second time in less than a year that chronic NCDs --- such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and lung diseases --- are in the international spotlight. Last fall, the High Level Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases convened in New York, when, for only the second time in the history of the United Nations, a high level summit focused on a global health concern.

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