7 out of 10 deaths in PH due to noncommunicable diseases — WHO study

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) cause an estimated 70% of all deaths in the country, with Filipino women more likely to succumb to such illnesses, according to a new study from the World Health Organization (WHO).

There were 511,748 NCD deaths in the Philippines in 2019, 72% of them women and 68% men, the UN health agency’s report “Invisible Numbers” released on Sept. 21 showed.

Cardiovascular diseases, a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels including coronary heart disease and congenital heart disease, are the country’s top causes of death for chronic diseases, with a total of 249,999 deaths based on 2019 data. Communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions make up 24% of mortality for NCDs.

As part of its country monitoring, the report noted that the Philippines has yet to implement guidelines for the management of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cardiorespiratory diseases, as well as drug therapy or counseling for heart attack and stroke prevention.

For risk factors, physical inactivity for Filipino adults aged 18 years old and above registered 40%, while hypertension in adults aged 30 to 79 is 34%. Moreover, the country recorded a total alcohol per capita consumption of 7 liters in 2019.

Global look

Around the world, 41 million people die because of NCDs yearly, corresponding to 74% of all deaths, while 17 million people die due to a chronic disease before the age of 70.

WHO noted that 77% of NCD deaths come from low- and middle-income countries.

Also, noncommunicable diseases have become the “top killers” globally, exceeding infectious diseases.

“This report reminds us the true scale of the threat posed by NCDs and their risk factors. It also sheds light on what we can do about them. The data paint a clear picture. The problem is that the world isn’t looking at it,” it warned.

The new report was launched at the first annual gathering of Heads of State and Government Group for the Prevention of NCDs during the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, where global leaders pledged to take urgent action on NCDs.

“Noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, and cancer are the world’s biggest silent killers -– but they can often be prevented with investment in proven, cost-effective interventions,” said Michael Bloomberg, reappointed WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. “I look forward to continuing to make life-saving investments in NCD and injury prevention alongside (Director-General) Dr. Tedros and the WHO.”