ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said that the 11th ASEAN Health Ministerial Meeting and Related Meetings in Bangkok, which kicked off on Thursday, will focus on finding measures to control non-communicable or chronic diseases, which are disturbing health issues within the region and around the world.
Mr. Surin said that the UN has cautioned that, without proper preventive measures, the ASEAN Community that will be realized in 2015 may experience an uncontrollable increase in the number of such patients.
According to the UN, 4 diseases that are most-worrying are high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, all of which have taken as many as 36 million lives around the world each year.
In ASEAN, about 2.5 million people have lost their lives from one of these illnesses, or 60 percent of the number of people who have passed away in a year.
Mr. Surin has urged all governments in ASEAN and 6 other partner countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, to put more focus on health security in order to help control the causes of non-communicable diseases.