Translating research and practice inong>toong> policy: ong>theong> Humanitarian Centre’s recommendations ong>toong> ong>theong> ong>UKong> ong>Governmentong> for addressing noncommunicable disease and mental health in developing countries The ‘Cambridge Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health in Developing Countries’ was held in January 2012 as part of ong>theong> Global Health Year. The conference was designed ong>toong> carry onong>theong> momentum generated by ong>theong> UN High Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) 18 in September 2011 – ong>theong> second UN Summit ever ong>toong> address a global health issue. The UN Summit brought ong>theong> world’s attentionong>toong> ong>theong> fact that 60 per cent of deaths in ong>theong> world are now due ong>toong> noncommunicable diseases – 80 per cent of which occur in developing countries. These percentages are rising; it is estimated that in Africa by 2030 noncommunicable diseases will kill more people than maternal and child health problems, communicable (infectious) diseases and nutritional diseases combined. 19 In low-income countries, avoidable NCDs also pose a higher burden by significantly impacting economic productivity and health systems. In all countries, NCDs increasingly affect ong>theong> poor, who are more exposed ong>toong> ong>theong> facong>toong>rs that cause NCDs. Moreover, people living with NCDs often lack access ong>toong> affordable essential medicines and technology for care. The Humanitarian Centre organised ong>theong> ‘Cambridge Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health in Developing Countries’ with ong>theong> belief that ong>theong> ong>UKong> has ong>theong> potential ong>toong> play a leading role in addressing ong>theong>se global health challenges. Mental health issues, also ‘noncommunicable', were given a prominent place in ong>theong> conference agenda, precisely because ong>theong>y were not featured at ong>theong> UN Summit, though ong>theong>y are ong>theong> third leading cause of disease burden ong>toong>day, predicted ong>toong> be ong>theong> leading disease burden by 2030. Twothirds of people worldwide – and 90 per cent of people in developing countries – do not get ong>theong> treatment ong>theong>y need for mental health issues. The fact that mental health issues are frequently hidden, ignored or stigmatised is all ong>theong> more reasonong>toong> take advantage of opportunities, such as ong>theong> Cambridge Conference, ong>toong> bring ong>theong>m ong>toong> ong>theong> fore. By drawing onong>theong> experiences of NGO member organisations, and working with ong>theong> Cambridge Institute of Public Health and ong>theong> Centre for Science and Policy (at ong>theong> University of Cambridge), ong>theong> Humanitarian Centre designed a conference programme that drew onong>UKong> expertise in NCD research, practice and policy. The ideas generated at ong>theong> conference were translated inong>toong> policy recommendations and shared at a reception in ong>theong> House of Commons for policy-makers, private secong>toong>r stakeholders, researchers and NGO advocates. 20 40 18 Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are diseases that are not infectious or ‘communicable’; that is, ong>theong>y are not transmitted from personong>toong> person. Diabetes, heart disease, common cancers and lung diseases are often referred ong>toong> as ong>theong> ‘four main’ NCDs, because ong>theong>y share behavioural drivers, and because ong>theong>y are responsible for most deaths and disability in ong>theong> world. Many find that focusing on four NCDs is unhelpful, because it excludes oong>theong>r diseases that are not infectious – such as mental health issues and injuries – and overlooks achievements that can be made with a more inclusive approach. 19 Statistics taken from ong>theong> World Health Organisation September 2011 fact sheet on noncommunicable disease: www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs355/en/index.html 20 The Humanitarian would like ong>toong> thank ong>theong> following individuals and organisations for ong>theong>ir comments onong>theong>se policy recommendations: Amina Aitsi-Selmi, Malini Aisola, Judith Watt (NCD Alliance), Richard Smith (Ovations initiative ong>toong> combat chronic diseases in ong>theong> developing world), Modi Mwatsama (National Heart Forum), Nicola Watt (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Chris Tyler (previously of ong>theong> Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge), Nick Wareham (CEDAR) and Lord Nigel Crisp and Oliver Johnson of ong>theong> All Party Parliamentary Group for Global Health.