UN NCDs Summit is a crucial turning point in the world’s awareness and commitment to confronting this epidemic and for achieving health for all.
This September, the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) will first and foremost provide an opportunity for society to gain awareness of the importance of the NCDs and to mobilize and take action to effectively address this important health issue. “The great challenge will be what we do after September”. The need to tackle the problem of chronic non-communicable diseases from a multisectoral rather than simply a health perspective is a key point.
Simultaneously we will be celebrating Wellness Week, a series of events and activities that promote healthy living in a healthy environment, which will be open to everyone from September 16 to 21, 2011.
PAHO-UNite in the Fight Against NCDs/ OPS-UNete a la lucha contra las ENT
The UN HLM on NCDs, to be held in New York will provide a venue for obtaining greater commitment from international partners and for establishing the issue as a United Nations development priority.
We can expect that the UN High-level meeting on NCDs, will lead to:
• Greater awareness among world leaders of the social and economic development implications of NCDs, particularly for the poor.
• Inclusion of NCDs as a development priority of the UN agenda since it is impacting already the growth potential of developing countries.
• A changed perception that NCDs are much more than a health problem and therefore warrant responses by all sectors, beyond the health sector.
• Increased commitment by international organizations for financial and technical support to countries, acknowledging the urgency of having NCDs included as part of their agendas.
PAHO, as the WHO regional office of the Americas, is committed to follow up on the decisions, which will emerge from the UN HLM on NCDs. We will continue working with our constituents, namely the Ministers of Health in the Americas and partners, to catalyze and support the translation of the UN outcome document to policy and practice. First, and foremost, we will continue to advocate for NCDs, with policy makers and leaders and working with our civil society networks such as the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and the Healthy Latin America Coalition.
We will host a “Wellness Week” initiative at the time of the UN HLM in New York City and other cities, as a public awareness and advocacy effort to call attention to health and wellbeing and to celebrate, on an annual basis, NCD prevention and control.
Wellness Week seeks to develop a social movement on healthy settings for healthy living and increase awareness among individuals, policy makers, communities and employers. The objective of Wellness Week is to emphasize the importance of the built and natural environment and socioeconomic conditions in modifying the risk factors for non-communicable diseases and in promoting prevention.
This is an opportunity to use urban settings as spaces for changing or modeling behavior through the action of different sectors, activities are under way with local leaders, such as mayors, that combine the power of multisectoral interventions with that of the public sector to build consensus, and that this linkage will make a difference.
Several of the initiatives that PAHO/WHO will take will be to ensure that the issue of chronic non-communicable diseases remains on the development agenda, as well as on other agendas, those of policy-makers at such meetings as G-8 and G-20. PAHO/WHO is committed to continuing its work with the ministries of health of the Americas and with partners, to catalyze and reinforce practical and political actions as will be agreed upon in the document to be approved at the United Nations.
Our priority will be to focus on prevention of risk factors, giving special attention to childhood obesity and nutrition; supporting regulations and restrictions for alcohol use, tobacco control and marketing foods to children and adults in general. Primary Health Care is a main priority, and we will continue to work with Member States on models of health care for NCDs that are more people-centered, comprehensive and integrated through the development of Integrated Health Service Delivery Networks based on a strong Primary Health Care foundation.
Given that no one organization can do it alone, PAHO will be working through an innovative partnership platform which we have established with public-private partners, named the Forum for Action on Chronic Diseases. An emphasis in its first year will be on having mass media campaigns to promote health and wellbeing in the Americas and to engage the public and raise awareness about NCD prevention and control.
In the days leading up to, and following the UN HLM, it will be important for all of us to catalyze the momentum across all sectors. I hope all of you members of the health community and all social sectors and partners can take part in making the UN HLM on NCD a crucial turning point in the world’s awareness and commitment to confronting this epidemic and for achieving health for all.
* PAHO Page on UN High Level Meeting on NCDs :