New WHO surveillance tool captures key country risk factors to bring global chronic disease epidemic under control
Geneva, 14 May 2003 - World Health Organization (WHO) today launched The SuRF Report 1, which captures for the first time chronic disease country risk factor profiles from 170 Member States. This is the first step in a major ongoing initiative to bring noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, and respiratory conditions, under control.
Until recently, risk factors such as raised blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco use, excess alcohol consumption, obesity, and the diseases linked to them were associated with developed countries. The World Health Report 2002: reducing risks, promoting healthy life, found that even in the poorest regions of the world, these common risk factors are now causing a rising burden of serious disease and untimely deaths.
"Many developing countries are affected by a double burden of disease, the combination of long-established infectious diseases, with a rapidly growing new epidemic of chronic, noncommunicable diseases," said Dr Ruth Bonita, Director Surveillance, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, WHO. "Member States need good data on their community profile of key risk factors so that they can bring these diseases under control. And given the time lag between exposure and disease, the risk factors of today predict the diseases of tomorrow," she said.
“This data collection is crucial for predicting the future burden of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease in populations, for identifying potential interventions to reduce their rapid growth, and for implementing better health policies, especially in developing countries,” said Professor Philip Poole-Wilson, President, World Heart Federation. Risk Factors
The SuRF (Surveillance of Risk Factors) Report contains some key risk factors data for over 170 of WHO's 192 Member States, and includes a CD-Rom containing the current data available by age and sex, for each country. These include tobacco and alcohol use, patterns of physical inactivity, low fruit/vegetable intake, obesity (as measured by Body Mass Index or BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes (measured by blood glucose). "We hope that the publication of key risk factor data will encourage Member States to send regular updates to help us fill in the gaps in this important data collection", said Dr Kate Strong, Data Manager, WHO Global NCD InfoBase.
The WHO Global NCD InfoBase also holds more than 47,000 pieces of data from over 1,400 different sources, including NGOs such as the World Heart Federation and its member organisations. The report highlights the gaps and deficiencies in the data which make comparisons between countries difficult.
The next step, SuRF 2, will harmonise the data to enable comparisons between countries. "Comparable data are needed by researchers, doctors and policy makers to help put into place preventive measures to combat the rise of chronic disease worldwide" said Dr Bonita.
About NCD InfoBase
The information contained in the country profiles of the Report comes from the WHO Global NCD InfoBase. The NDC InfoBase is designed as a one-stop resource for researchers, policy makers and the public. The risk factor information included in the NCD InfoBase comes from peer-reviewed journals, reports and unpublished data from Ministries of Health, and personal contact with investigators. The NCD InfoBase is continuously updated and will be available via the internet in late 2003.
For further information please contact: Dr Ruth Bonita, Director Surveillance, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, Phone: 022 791 2428 (office); 079 217 3487 (mobile); +33 450 99 05 44 (home); Dr Kate Strong, Data Manager, WHO NCD InfoBase, Surveillance, NMH Phone: 022 791 2497 (office), 079 671 2663 (mobile); Dr Alfredo Morabia, Médecin-chef de service, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Phone: 022 372 95 77 (office).
The World Heart Federation
The World Heart Federation is a Non-Governmental Organisation based in Geneva and dedicated to the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases around the world. The Federation is committed to helping the global population achieve a longer and better life through prevention and control of heart disease and stroke, with a particular focus on low and middle-income countries. The World Heart Federation is comprised of 168 member societies of cardiology and heart foundations from 98 countries and continental members covering the regions of Asia-Pacific, Europe, East Mediterranean, the Americas and Africa. For further information visit the World Heart site or CW newsroom
World Heart Federation Press Office: Isabelle Lueder Phone: +41 (0) 22 908 4070 email@example.com