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NDCs are responsible for 82% of deaths in the country with 40% a direct result of cardiovascular diseases.
NDCs are responsible for 82% of deaths in the country with 40% a direct result of cardiovascular diseases.

Lawmakers Want Prompt Action on Curbing NCDs

The national document has set the targets for reducing premature mortality from NCDs by 25% by 2025, reducing salt and tobacco consumption by 30%, reducing the prevalence of high blood pressure by 25%, and preventing obesity and diabetes

Lawmakers Want Prompt Action on Curbing NCDs

The alarming growth in the rate of non-communicable diseases has prompted a group of lawmakers to call for implementing the 2015 National Document for the Prevention and Control of non-communicable siseases (NCDs) at the earliest.  
Reports from the Health Ministry say that NDCs are responsible for 82% of deaths in the country with 40% a direct result of cardiovascular diseases. The likelihood of premature mortality from the four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs) between ages 30 and 70 years is 17% in Iran. Mortality rate in this age group is high with figures indicating that 25% of the total deaths registered are among people in this age bracket.
Each year globally, cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.5 million people annually, followed by cancers (8.2 million), respiratory diseases (4 million), and diabetes (1.5 million).
The World Health Organization had way back in 2002 warned that 80% of mortalities in Iran are due to chronic non-communicable illnesses that mainly stem from obesity, overweight and physical inactivity, as well as the widespread use of tobacco and narcotics.
In 2005, the WHO said 54% of Iranian men were overweight. The figure remained the same until 2015 when data again showed no change over a span of 10 years. With regard to women, the figure for obesity had further increased by 4% from 70% in 2005 to 74% in 2015.
Baqer Larijani, the education deputy at the Health Ministry had earlier said that Iran lags behind regional countries in NCD prevention.

  Implementation of Goals
Heidar Ali Abedi, member of the Majlis (parliament) Hygiene and Treatment Commission, urged the signatories to the national document on NCDs to implement its mandate soon.
The plan prepared by the Health Ministry was approved by the government last year. It was unveiled on July 22, 2015 in the presence of WHO Director-General Margaret Chan during her visit to Tehran.
The framework comprises nine global targets and 25 indicators adopted by WHO member states at the World Health Assembly in May 2013.
The document has set the targets for reducing premature mortality from NCDs by 25% by 2025, reducing salt and tobacco consumption by 30%, reducing the prevalence of high blood pressure by 25%, preventing obesity and diabetes, promoting adequate physical activity and eliminating trans-fatty acids in cooking oil, among others.
“The first step in addressing the prevalence of NCDs is through preventive steps by improving health indices,” said Abedi, as reported by the Majlis news agency ICANA.  
Promoting physical exercise and healthy nutrition, changing people’s lifestyle, removing pollutants from water, soil and air, health screening and rehabilitation are among the measures to help check these diseases.
The government should think of subsidizing tuna fish, vegetables and fruits instead of rice, sugar and oil, said Abedi, since a major cause of the high prevalence rate of diabetes type 2 is the high consumption of the latter food products.
“Raising the price of sugar, oil and salt will curtail its purchase and consumption,” he maintained.
He also stressed that children must be taught about healthy nutrition and correct diets early in their school years to avoid non-communicable diseases at a later stage in their lives.
Air pollution, workplace stress and other environmental causes must also be addressed to prevent risks to healthy living conditions.

  Old-Age Diseases  
Mohammad Na’eim Amini Fard, spokesperson of the commission, said that the increase in life expectancy has also changed the profile of commonplace illnesses and today societies are facing the widespread presence of old-age diseases.
He hoped, however, that with improvement in health and hygiene and establishment of specialized clinics, especially in the large number of informal settlements that house nearly 10 million people, major steps will be taken to tackle the issue.
“In line with the 2014 Health Reform Plan, building 1,800 polyclinics, renovating and upgrading hospitals and raising awareness about NCDs are on top of the ministry’s agenda,” said Amini Fard.
Homayoun Hashemi, another member of the commission, pointed to the costs of disease burden on the economy adding that prevention and raising awareness can help reduce health costs and the resource waste.
“It has been proven that countries that focus on prevention and allocate funds for the purpose have reduced not only their rate of disease burden, but also treatment and rehabilitation costs,” he said.
Hashemi too pressed the Health Ministry to act more swiftly to implement the national document.
In August, Ali Akbar Sayyari, deputy health minister had said the national plan on prevention and control of NCDs would take off from the second half of the current Iranian year that started in March.
The “90,90,90” plan aims to screen 90% of Iranians for NCDs including cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and stroke), cancers and chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

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