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Commercial Interests Confound Fight Against NCDs, Some Experts Say

The Washington Post examines the influence of commercial interests on the “political declaration” that emerged from this week’s U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in New York. NCDs “are the globe’s biggest health problem, responsible for 63 percent of all deaths each year, with incidence growing steeply in the low-income, rapidly urbanizing nations of the world,” but they “are deeply entangled with important global industries, not only tobacco but also food, pharmaceuticals, advertising, transportation and construction,” the newspaper writes, adding, “The bigger issue in preparing the document, however, was how much to invoke the … World Trade Organization’s agreement on intellectual property, known informally as TRIPS” (Brown, 9/20).

U.N. Meeting On NCDs Concludes With Pledges To Fight Chronic Diseases

World leaders on Tuesday “pledged to take wide-ranging action to prevent millions of deaths from cancer, diabetes, and heart and lung disease by tackling the key causes — smoking, excessive drinking, lack of exercise and unhealthy diets dominated by fast food,” but the “declaration approved at the first-ever General Assembly meeting on chronic diseases which ended Tuesday left unanswered the question of coordinating an international response to what the leaders called “a challenge of epidemic proportions,” the Associated Press/CBS News reports.

USAID Launches 'FWD' Campaign To Raise Awareness Of Famine, Drought In Horn Of Africa

The PBS NewsHour blog “The Rundown” features an interview with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, in which he discusses a new website initiative called “FWD,” “aimed at giving viewers a better sense of the scope of the famine in the Horn of Africa — its worst in more than 60 years.” The site includes infographics and data maps “intended to contextualize the problem by showing the recent increase in food prices, where internally displaced peoples camps are located, and where various aid groups are operating,” according to the blog (Epatko, 9/20).

WHO Mandated To Lead Global Response Against NCDs But Funding Lacking

In this post in the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a research fellow at the center, writes that the “main outcome” of the U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is an assignment for the WHO “to lead the…

'The World' Examines Exclusion Of Mental Health From MDGs

PRI’s “The World” highlights the state of mental health care in Uganda in an examination of how the exclusion of mental health from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has, according to some advocates, held back mental health as a global health issue. Julius Kayiira, director of Mental Health Uganda, an organization that provides social support, job training and care to people with mental illness, “says organizations like his face an enormous funding gap, and he blames that gap, in part, on the United Nations,” according to “The World.”

World Leaders Unanimously Approve NCD Political Declaration

World leaders attending the first-ever U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) kicked off the summit on Monday by “unanimously approving a ‘political declaration’ meant to stem a rising tide of [NCDs], now the world’s leading killer,” CNN reports (Ariosto, 9/19). The declaration “call[s] for a multi-pronged campaign by governments, industry and civil society to set up by 2013 the plans needed to curb the risk factors behind the four groups of NCDs — cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes,” according to the U.N. News Centre.

Global Health Experts Discuss Curbing Rise Of NCDs At Washington Post Live Event

The Washington Post reports on an event hosted last week by Washington Post Live, the division of the newspaper that organizes forums and debates, which brought together a number of attendees of the U.N. summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) wrapping up today in New York, as well as other key thinkers on global health, to discuss curbing the rise of NCDs. The newspaper includes links to commentary from several attendees at the event, including Julio Frenk, dean of faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health; Nils Daulaire, director of the Office of Global Health Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services ; Ann Keeling, chief executive of the International Diabetes Federation and chair of the NCD Alliance; and Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, among others.

Global Trade Negotiations Must Consider Inequalities In Access To Medicines

Some of the issues to be addressed at the U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) taking place this week in New York “are controversial, including those relating to intellectual property rights for new medicines, diagnostics and medical devices,” James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, writes in an Al Jazeera opinion piece. “By continuing to assert that the Doha Declaration is in fact limited in various ways, U.S. and European trade negotiators have tried to discourage the granting of compulsory licenses on patents for high-priced drugs for cancer and other non-communicable diseases,” he continues, before outlining a proposal called the “cancer prize approach” that would de-link drug prices from research and development incentives.