UICC, together with the United States Mission to the UN in Geneva and Panama Mission to the UN Office and other International Organiations, organised a closed high-level meeting on 31 October 2012 bringing together a select group of government and UN agency representatives with UICC members and partners to examine progress in the follow-up to the UN High-level meeting (UNHLM) on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs).
In this all important year for laying the foundation of a global monitoring framework, as well as a pan-UN, cross-government and multi-sectoral partnership, it is vital that these are anchored in an updated Global Action Plan for NCDs with the goal of delivering on the World Health Assembly-approved target of 25% reduction in premature mortality by 2025.
The event provided an opportunity for participants to exchange thoughts on how we can most effectively secure balance in these plans – balance across the four major NCDs (cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease), as well as a balance of policies and interventions across the continuum of care from health promotion, access to early detection, to treatment and care.
While Member States appear to be coming to consensus on targets and indicators for the major risk factors for NCDs, this event aimed to stimulate a dialogue on how best to achieve more equitable access to medicines, technologies and services for NCDs, assuring health systems are strengthened to deal with the rising burden of chronic diseases across the globe.
A period of intensive consultation is scheduled in the last half of 2012. Early November brings Member States together in final preparation of the WHO Global Action Plan for NCDs 2013 – 2020 for submission to the 132nd WHO Executive Board and 66th World Health Assembly in 2013. This offered an excellent opportunity to stimulate debate.
Mr Peter F. Mulrean, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the United States of America in Geneva closed the discussion with a summary of the key points at the end of the meeting:
1) NCDs are not just about health issues but have extraordinary economic impact: trillions of dollars are spent in economic activity and millions of lives – and those dollars could go either way depending on how we move ahead. We cannot afford to fail on the Global Action Plan (GAP) and Global Monitoring Framework (GMF).
2) Targets must be concrete, credible, and achievable.
3) An important point about the messaging must be made: What comes out must be understandable to the president and the taxi driver alike.
4) Maintaining momentum means being able to get public support for it.
We put a lot of consensus on the need to address full continuum including prevention, treatment and care, as well as the importance of a comprehensive approach pan-UN, multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral approach.
5) All of this is going to be hard, but its achievable, and we know that for a large part it is achievable and we cannot miss this opportunity.
Image: © U.S. Mission Geneva 2012