The NCD Alliance, which represents about 2,000 health organizations from around the world focused on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), “on Thursday accused the United States, Canada and Europe of harming efforts to fight cancer, diabetes, heart and other diseases because they will not agree to set United Nations targets,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 8/18). The first-ever U.N. High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs is scheduled for September 19-20 in New York.
Non Communicable Disease/Chronic Disease
“We were deeply perturbed to learn that the negotiations for the Outcomes Document of the U.N. High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a mere month or so away, had stalled because member states failed to reach consensus,” Nalini Saligram, CEO of Arogya World, and Sandeep Kishore, an MD/PhD candidate at the Cornell/ Rockefeller/ Sloan-Kettering Institute, write in a Huffington Post opinion piece.
“In the run up to the U.N. summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), there are fears that industry interests might be trumping evidence-based public health interventions,” BMJ reports. “Many hope that this meeting will force [NCDs] into the spotlight just as the first health-related U.N. summit did for AIDS a decade ago,” but “[w]ith only weeks to go before the summit … [d]iscussions have stopped on the document that forms the spine of the summit,” BMJ writes.
“Obesity rates worldwide have doubled in the last three decades, even as blood pressure and cholesterol levels have dropped,” according to a series of papers published Friday in the Lancet, the Associated Press/New York Times reports (8/25). According to the researchers, “1.5 billion adults are overweight and another half-a-billion are obese,” and “the rise in obesity is likely to lead to an increase in the number of people afflicted by diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses, adding to the cost of healthcare,” VOA News’ “Breaking News” blog writes (8/25).
David Stuckler of the University of Cambridge, Sanjay Basu of the University of California, San Francisco, and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, write in a BMJ commentary that misconceptions and fallacies “have led to serious under-budgeting for non-communicable diseases” (NCDs). The authors question whether food companies, or lobbying groups and non-governmental organizations that are influenced by food corporations, should “be viewed as trusted partners and have a seat at the table during public health negotiations” leading up to the U.N. High-level Meeting on NCDs.
With negotiations over the outcomes for the U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) stalled, “[i]t is feared that sound proposals for clear goals and timelines to tackle these devastating diseases are being systematically deleted, diluted and downgraded by some U.N. Member States and urgent action is needed to put the negotiations back on track, when they recommence on September 1,” Rob Moodie, chair of Global Health at the Nossal Institute of Global Health, writes in the Crikey health blog “Croakey.”
In anticipation of the September 2011 U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) “should not only look at the lessons learned in the control of NCDs in developed countries, but also those from other areas of public health, especially AIDS, which can inform the design of an effective and sustainable response to NCDs in developing countries,” Rebecca Dirks from FHI 360 and colleagues write in this PLoS Medicine Policy Forum editorial piece.
U.N. member state representatives recently reached an agreement “on a political declaration document for the 19 September U.N. high-level meeting on the prevention and control of on non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” although the document is “somewhat watered down from an original version,” ScienceInsider reports (Reardon, 9/7). “The process has hit delays and setbacks, including resistance from some member countries to setting hard targets for reducing disease,” according to the PBS Newshour blog “The Rundown” (Miller, 9/7).
In this Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece, Boyd Swinburn, a professor and director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Australia, examines how “rich countries, … particularly the U.S. and European Union but also Australia, Canada and New Zealand, … are joining forces with tobacco, food, alcohol and pharmaceutical corporations to water down commitments that might flow from” this month’s U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in New York.
In this Huffington Post opinion piece outlining many facts and statistics surrounding non-communicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide, Susan Blumenthal, public health editor of the Huffington Post and former assistant surgeon general, along with Katherine Warren and Lauren Macherelli, who previously worked at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, where Blumenthal is director of the health and medicine program, write, “The world is at a crossroads when it comes to the chronic disease epidemic and its enormous health and economic impacts.”