Washington, DC Advocacy Groups Commend National Governments for Committing to Reduce the Noncommunicable Disease Burden Worldwide

New York, NY (September 27, 2018) – Global Health Council (GHC) and the Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Roundtable, welcomes today’s High-Level Meeting (HLM) on NCDs and commends governments for reaffirming their commitments to reducing the burdens of NCDs, including the long overdue commitment to address mental health, and the recognition that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Ultimately, the value of this meeting will be demonstrated by the actions governments, donors, and civil society take to accelerate implementation.

“The burden of NCDs in low- and middle-income countries is growing, and it is critical that we stand with people living with NCDs to ensure they have access to necessary services and support,” stated Loyce Pace, Global Health Council President and Executive Director. “This convening offers an opportunity for countries to reaffirm their commitment to prevent and control NCDs, with a particular focus on affected communities with limited resources.”

GHC and the NCD Roundtable call for an emphasis on expanding coverage, to ensure that all people–including the poorest and most marginalized–benefit from prevention and are able to seek treatment and care. This will require greater multisectoral collaboration across public and private entities, as well as looking at other sectors, including technology and finance, to realize solutions. There must be clear targets and strong financial commitments to reach those implementation goals, requiring transparency and accountability from all stakeholders. This is not just a matter of principle; it is necessary to ensure sustainable economic development, as indirect and direct costs related to NCDs cripple productivity and threaten economies at all income levels.[i]

“This meeting is important because it will provide an opportunity for senior U.S. officials to join other leaders from around the world in recommitting to reducing the global burden of NCDs, which takes a toll on public health, on families and communities, and on economies,” stated Aaron Emmel, NCD Roundtable Co-Chair and Manager of Global Health Advocacy Initiatives at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In addition to adopting the commitments stated in the Political Declaration, we urge governments to continue to work towards:

1.) Concrete global and national targets with mechanisms for accountability. Targets and action steps should be aligned as closely as possible with those emerging from the HLM on Tuberculosis, which took place on September 26. We believe there is still more work to do in this regard.

2.) Meaningful civil society engagement. We strongly support OP16 in the Political Declaration and believe governments, civil society (including patient and family advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations, academia, health professional associations, and faith-based organizations), and for-profit companies all have a stake in reducing the burden of NCDs.

3.) Adoption of a life-course approach. The support for a life-course approach is significant and must be supported in programs and funding. Although there are no age restrictions in the UN Sustainable Development Agenda’s target for NCDs, the World Health Organization’s attention to premature deaths from NCDs focuses solely on the 30-70 age range. This excludes millions of children, adolescents and young people who live with or are affected by NCDs, and many die prematurely or suffer long-term disabilities as a result. We will not be able to meet our global commitments, or sustain them, until this is corrected.

“Just as importantly, this is a call to action—to build up our health systems and turn those commitments into practical, sustained work on the ground that reaches the people who have been left out for so long,” said Emmel. “What’s significant about this meeting is that governments are agreeing to new approaches: to tackling mental health, to recognizing the importance of access to prevention and health services starting with children and across people’s lives, to listening to patients and making them partners in care, and to paying attention to the role of our environments on health. These insights all require a new way of working, and there’s a way for every sector of society to be involved, including with adequate budgets and strong political will from our governments.”

Addressing and incorporating these priorities are critical to reducing the number of NCD-related deaths and achieving universal health coverage, especially in low- and middle-income countries. GHC and the NCD Roundtable look forward to working together in continued collaboration with public and private entities to help people lead healthier, longer lives and reduce the toll NCDs take on our global economy.

[i] Council on Foreign Relations. The Emerging Global Health Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases in Low-and Middle-Income Countries. New York: Council on Foreign Relations. 2014. Page 38.

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About the NCD Roundtable

The NCD Roundtable is a diverse coalition of over 60 organizations, including NGOs representing development and humanitarian settings, professional associations, academic institutions and companies, united to raise awareness and address the rising incidence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the developing world. Learn more at www.ncdroundtable.org.

About Global Health Council
Established in 1972, Global Health Council (GHC) is the leading membership organization supporting and connecting advocates, implementers, and stakeholders around global health priorities worldwide. GHC represents the collaborative voice of the community on key issues; we convene stakeholders around key priorities and actively engage with decision-makers to influence global health policy. Learn more at www.globalhealth.org.