As part of the UN General Assembly in New York, delegations of member countries issued a political declaration September 27th that reaffirms the commitment of national governments to fight against noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). One of the main agreed measures is to strengthen interaction with the pharmaceutical industry and vaccine manufacturers, to ensure access to quality essential drugs and vaccines. The official statement will be published in the coming weeks, once its elaboration and translation process is completed. Given the renewed commitment of countries to combat NCDs, the Executive and Legislative branches of member states are expected to introduce Executive measures and bills to increase legislation on this topic in the coming months.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), pointed out that the commitments made by governments are a historic opportunity to care for people’s health and promote economic growth. Furthermore, policies to reduce NCDs will generate about u$s350 billion in profits in low- and middle-income countries by 2030. “Seventy percent of deaths worldwide are caused by diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart and respiratory diseases,” the public official said. Eighty-five percent of those deaths happen in developing countries.
The President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, highlighted that the political commitment at the highest level is necessary to defeat these diseases. “The cost of inaction is too high for people. Public health belongs to everyone,” he said. In this regard, it is very important to carry out vaccination campaigns against infection by the human papillomavirus, in order to prevent cervical cancer, and to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), despite the fact that some countries consider it too costly.
WHO also presented its third report on country profiles of NCDs, which assesses progress made at the national level towards the achievement of NCD control targets. According to the results, the risk of premature death from one of the four major NCDs has been reduced to 18 per cent in 2016, 5 per cent lower than in 2010. However, at this rate of progress, the premature mortality rate per NCD is not expected to be reduced by a third by 2030. Therefore, Sustainable Development Goals on these topics will not be fulfilled.