Global action on diabetes

The number of adults living with diabetes worldwide has almost quadrupled since 1980, to 422 million, according to the first WHO Global report on diabetes. An estimated 64 million people are now living with the disease in the WHO European Region.

The growing diabetes epidemic is strongly associated with increasing trends in overweight and obesity, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and socioeconomic disadvantage. Type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease, and simple changes to one’s lifestyle can be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of the disease and its complications, which can include cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, loss of limbs and even loss of life.

To read the Global Report on Diabetes on the website

Living kidney donations

Members of the EU, including the UK, have worked together to produce a Reference Toolkit for all Member States concerning living organ donation for the purpose of transplantation.
It sets out, and describes, the Core Principles for the establishment, organisation and oversight of living donor transplantation, gives examples of good practice, and contains an extensive list of references to other relevant
This tool box on living kidney donation and transplantation is intended to help Member States establish or optimise
their living donor programmes, by reviewing the key aspects of living kidney donation and transplantation.
Although the toolbox focuses on kidney donation, the principles apply to the living donation of other organs, although naturally the details may vary due to organ specific factors and considerations.
To download the Reference Toolkit from the website

Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: Policies for Better Health and Quality of Care

The last 50 years have witnessed remarkable improvements in CVD outcomes. Since 1960, overall CVD mortality rates have fallen by over 60%, but these improvements are not evenly spread across OECD countries, and the rising prevalence of diabetes and obesity are threatening to offset gains. This report examines how countries perform in their ability to prevent, manage and treat cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.

To read the report online, click here on

Main causes of cancer deaths 2013

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in OECD countries after cardiovascular diseases, accounting for 25% of all deaths in 2013. Lung cancer is still by far the most common cause of death from cancer among men (26%), followed by colorectal cancer (11%) and prostate cancer (9%). Lung cancer is also the most common cause of cancer mortality among women (17%), followed by breast cancer (15%) and colorectal cancer (12%). Further reduction in smoking is the key to reducing mortality from lung cancer.

To see the OECD graph, click here on

Psychosocial factors linked to chronic diseases

This report summarizes the best available evidence for a link between psychosocial factors and morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases and cancer in Europe. The psychosocial factors repeatedly identified as related to chronic diseases include high job demand, low autonomy, low control or high effort-reward   imbalance, interpersonal conflicts and low social support or low trust. Psychosocial factors might therefore become part of complex total risk-reducing interventions focusing on multiple risk factors.

To download the report, click here on

Multisectoral action to promote physical activity in Switzerland

Although most people know that being physically active improves health dramatically, levels of physical activity are far too low. This leads to an increased risk of a range of conditions and diseases, such as overweight and obesity, ischaemic heart disease, strokes, diabetes and some types of cancer, notably breast and colon cancer. The World Health Organisation recommends 60 minutes of physical activity a day and recognises that sectors outside the health sector have to be involved if physical activity is to become an integral part of Europeans’ lives.

Switzerland already has experience of involving different sectors to promote physical activity, having identified that up to 60% of a person’s health is determined by factors outside the health sector. They have focused on specific cooperative projects with other federal agencies in order to create opportunities to promote physical activity in urban and regional planning. One example is a project which promotes social diversity and the effective use of public and semi-private open space, using inter-communal planning processes and construction quality standards, offering incentives to stakeholders such as real-estate owners.

The World Health Organization has defined nine voluntary global targets that address key non-communicable disease risk factors, including tobacco use, salt intake, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and the harmful use of alcohol. The target for physical activity is a 10% relative reduction in the prevalence of insufficient physical activity by 2025.

To read more about Switzerland’s Sustainable Spatial Development (in French, German or Italian), click here

To read more about the Global Status Report on Non-communicable Diseases 2014, click here on

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prematurely take 16 million lives a year

According to a new WHO report, 16 million people die before the age of 70 from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

The report, Global status report on non-communicable diseases 2014” urges governments to act to meet global targets and reduce the NCD epidemic. An investment of just US$ 1-3 per person per year could dramatically reduce illness and death from NCDs.

For more information about NCDs and to download the report, click here on

Cervical cancer hits the developing world hard

Cervical cancer is one of the deadliest, yet most easily prevented, forms of cancer for women, causing over 270,000 deaths a year, 85% of which occur in developing countries.

It is estimated that over one million women worldwide are currently living with cervical cancer and the majority of these have no access to health services for prevention, curative treatment or palliative care.

A new publication from WHO, “Comprehensive cervical cancer control: a guide to essential practice” includes the following guidance to make cancer prevention more affordable for struggling health systems:

  • Vaccinate 9 to 13-year-old girls with two doses of HPV vaccine, rather than the current 3-dose schedule as it has proved to be just as effective
  • Use HPV tests to screen women for cervical cancer prevention as this will reduce the frequency of screening
  • Communicate with a wider audience, including adolescents, parents, educators, leaders and people working at all levels of the health system, to reach women throughout their lives

The guide also highlights the importance of addressing gender discrimination and other inequities related to wealth, class, education, religion and ethnicity in the design of health policies and programmes.

To read the full guide, click here on

Liver disease affects 29 million Europeans

In 2013, liver cirrhosis caused 170,000 deaths in Europe and liver cancer accounted for another 47,000.

However, while many people in Europe are now aware of liver conditions such as viral hepatitis and cirrhosis, there are a number of other liver conditions that are just as damaging to health and quality of life.

The European Association for the Study of the Liver has launched the ‘Research Roadmap for Liver Disease’ (HEPAMAP) and is calling on policy makers to step up their efforts to tackle the disease and its links with lifestyle and other diseases like cardiovascular conditions and     cancer.

To read more about the Association and HEPAMAP, click here on