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Minister Mattila travels to the Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases in Montevideo

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
18.10.2017 13.04 | Published in English on 18.10.2017 at 13.13
Press release 141/2017

Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, will attend a high-level conference on noncommunicable diseases in Montevideo from 18 till 20 October.

The conference is organised by the World Health Organization WHO. The conference will focus on how to prevent noncommunicable diseases and how to ensure that political actions to prevent diseases are in line with the desired goals.

Noncommunicable diseases include cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. Finland has long promoted the approach where health is taken into account in all decision-making.

Our country has also succeeded to significantly reduce the mortality and morbidity of the most common diseases in Finland. This has made Finland a model country in preventing noncommunicable diseases even internationally. Minister Mattila will act as one of the three chairs of the conference, together with the Health Ministers of Uruguay and Russia.

In 2015, approximately 40 million people died of noncommunicable chronic diseases globally, for example of cardiovascular diseases, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases. More than a third of the deaths were premature. Reducing premature deaths related to noncommunicable diseases is one of the objectives of Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goal of the UN.

Chronic diseases can be caused by, for example, smoking, excess use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercise. Risk factors can be prevented, and the factors are the same both in developed and developing countries.

Monitoring noncommunicable diseases will be discussed at the UN general assembly in 2018. The WHO therefore wishes that the conference in Montevideo will give it a mandate to launch new initiatives relating to prevention and management of diseases.  The best way to prevent noncommunicable diseases is to make political and societal decisions on creating such living environments where it is easy for people to make healthy choices.

Finland has supported the WHO’s set of initiatives. In global discussions Finland has emphasised the importance of health promotion and prevention of diseases.


Satu Leino, Senior Officer, tel. +358 2951 63428

Pirkko Mattila
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