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May 16, 2012

Noncommunicable Diseases: A Global Health Crisis in a New World Order

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Bloom); and Department of Medical Science, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Dr Adashi). Ms Marrero is a medical student at the Warren Alpert Medical School.

JAMA. 2012;307(19):2037-2038. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3546

In September 2011, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held—for the first time—a High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases.1 In taking this unusual step, the UNGA, home to 193 member states and the principal decision-making organ of the United Nations (UN), has affirmed not only the global importance of the noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) but also the imperative of concerted remedial action.1 In this Viewpoint we discuss the outcomes of the high-level meeting (HLM) and the aftermath thereof and affirm that the heretofore unrecognized NCD epidemic has at last acquired a voice. However, the HLM, accompanied by a severe international economic downturn, exposed a new world order wherein erstwhile global health donors play a more limited role, aid recipients assume greater responsibility for developmental progress, and UN agencies increasingly integrate NCDs into their programmatic and budgetary constructs.