Urgent need for Asian countries to look at non-communicable diseases

November 20, 2018

IDRC / Bartay

Researchers and policymakers will draw up an action plan to tackle diet-related NCDs in Asia.

As the first of its kind in the region, an international symposium on tackling diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Asia is being held in Hanoi, Vietnam, from November 19-22. It is among the first efforts in Asia to build teams of researchers ready to tackle the food-related drivers of NCDs.

Low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are losing an alarmingly high number of lives to NCDs such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Of even more concern is the fact that NCD risks associated with diet are increasing in younger age groups. NCDs directly pose long-term economic burdens on society through acute and long-term morbidity management and indirectly through impaired capacities.

Despite the loss of human life and productivity, regional research has been limited in LMICs, with most evidence-based research derived from high-income countries. There is a need for greater research in the broader Asia region to understand contextual drivers of rising NCD trends and to develop appropriate and sustainable interventions.

The symposium, supported by IDRC and Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, will bring researchers and policymakers together from across Asia to build awareness and research capacity in the region. The workshop training will cater to the pre-defined needs of each country and participants will work together to develop and refine new and existing multi-country research proposals aimed at improving food environments.

A regional initiative will be proposed through constructive and meaningful information-sharing between countries and disciplines. This will enhance competencies for evidence-based research to promote effectual policies and to discuss the viability of finalizing regionally relevant interventions.