Chronic diseases and health promotion

Part Four - Taking action: essential steps for success

Chapter Two - The private sector, civil society and international organizations


Taking action to halt and turn back the rising chronic disease pandemic is a pressing challenge for the field of global public health. Fortunately, the effective and feasible strategies for doing so already exist. The global goal of saving 36 million lives by the year 2015 can be achieved with urgent, coordinated action. A range of effective interventions for chronic disease prevention and control exist, and many countries have already made major reductions in chronic disease death rates through their implementation.

Everyone has a role to play in advancing the agenda. In low income countries, it is vital that supportive policies are put in place now to reduce risks and curb the epidemics before they take hold. In countries with established chronic disease problems, additional measures are needed not only to prevent the diseases through population wide and individual risk reduction but also to manage illness and prevent complications.

Taking up the challenge for chronic disease prevention and control, especially in the context of competing priorities, requires courage and ambition. On the other hand, the failure to use available knowledge about chronic disease prevention and control is unjustified, and recklessly endangers future generations. There is simply no excuse for allowing chronic diseases to continue taking millions of lives each year when the scientific understanding of how to prevent these deaths is available now.
The agenda is broad and bold, but the way forward is clear.