IDF Advocacy Update for the Quarterly Newsletter - June 2012

Landmark Success – The Adoption of First Global NCD Target at 65th World Health Assembly

At the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva in May, we saw a major breakthrough for people with diabetes and the related NCDs. All 194 WHO Member States adopted the first ever global target on NCDs - a 25% reduction in preventable mortality from NCDs by 2025.

It was thanks to the initiative of Jamaica and Samoa, and the leadership of the United States, Barbados, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Norway, Russian Federation, Egypt, Thailand and Switzerland, that Member States adopted the WHA Resolution and the “25 by 25” target. This success is the outcome of almost one year of work, starting last year with IDF and the NCD Alliance’s call for this goal to be included in the UN Summit Political Declaration, maintaining pressure through the subsequent rounds of WHO consultations on the targets, and relentless advocacy during the week of WHA.

It is a major step forward in building political commitment and accountability for diabetes and NCDs. Every government is now mandated to collect data on diabetes and NCD mortality. Just as the HIV/AIDS global targets have done over the last decade, this target has the potential to drive significant action on diabetes across all countries. With the “25 by 25” target, governments have demonstrated political leadership on NCDs worldwide, and signalled to the world that every death from diabetes and NCDs counts. 

In the WHA Resolution, governments also:

  • Expressed strong support for additional work aimed at reaching consensus on targets relating to the four NCD main risk factors, namely tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity;
  • Noted wide support by Member States and other stakeholders around global voluntary targets considered so far including those relating to raised blood pressure, tobacco, salt/sodium and physical inactivity;
  • Noted support from among Member States and other stakeholders for the development of targets relating to obesity, fat intake, alcohol, cholesterol and health system responses such as availability of essential medicines for NCDs.

The remaining targets will be discussed during WHO Regional Consultations in the coming months, and the finalised at a WHO Member State meeting by the end of October 2012.

We therefore need to continue our advocacy at national and regional levels to ensure a comprehensive set of targets are agreed that address both prevention and treatment. IDF and the NCD Alliance are particularly urging governments to agree a target of a minimum of 80% availability of affordable, quality assured essential NCD medicines and technologies, including insulin, in private and public facilities. This 80% availability target has already been adopted by WHO in their Medium Term Strategic Plan, and aligns with progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goal 8 on access to essential medicines.

We will keep you informed of when the Regional Consultations will take place, and how you can influence the process. To read the reaction of IDF CEO Ann Keeling to this decision, please follow this link to her blog: http://www.idf.org/ceo-comments. To read the NCD Alliance press release click here.

A New Frontier - Experts Explore Connections between Diabetes and Climate Change

Against the backdrop of the World Health Assembly, IDF convened an Expert Dialogue on Diabetes and Climate Change. For the first time, experts explored the interconnections between these two global threats and discussed how we can tackle them together. The event was held in collaboration with Bupa, the private health insurance company. It was co-hosted by Bupa Chairman Alexander Leitch and IDF President-Elect Michael Hirst, and included respected panellists, Ruth Colagiuri, IDF Vice President, George Alleyne, Director-Emeritus of PAHO, Maria Neira of the World Health Organization, and John Tooke, Chairman of Bupa’s medical advisory panel.

We held this Expert Dialogue at WHA in order to engage the health policy-makers of the world on these two urgent issues. The event attracted a diverse audience from governments, multilateral agencies, academia, civil society and the private sector. A hand-out summarising the interconnections was distributed at the event and very well received. The overarching message was the need for greater unity between the health and environment communities to combat the global challenges of diabetes, NCDs and climate change.

Consequently, we will be launching a pioneering policy report on this subject around the UN Conference on Sustainable Development – also known as Rio+20 – in June 2012 as we believe it provides a useful lens for understanding the broader interconnections between health and environment. Moreover, it supports the case that health must be at the heart of sustainable development.

The Road to 2015 - Progress on Rio +20 and the Post-2015 Development Framework

IDF and the NCD Alliance are making progress towards our long-term goal of integrating diabetes and NCDs into the post-2015 global development framework. Recently, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced that their national and global thematic consultations on health will include NCDs, a major step forward in the road to 2015. It also signals that the UN and governments acknowledge NCDs as a serious health and development challenge, alongside maternal health, child mortality and infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

The UN Secretary-General has appointed the Co-Chairs of the UN Eminent Persons Panel which will guide the post-2015 development framework: UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Additional appointees to the panel are not yet known, but IDF and the NCD Alliance are pushing for a health representative with a strong NCD background to be included and will be following the panel’s progress closely.

IDF and NCD Alliance are also preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June. The discussions and outcomes of this conference are likely to provide a major contribution to the next phase of setting the post-2015 development framework, as well as potentially agree a process to define Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). NCD Alliance advocacy in New York has contributed to progress in strengthening references to health and NCDs in the Rio+20 Outcomes Document, with the most recent draft containing a specific health sub-section and paragraph on NCDs. The NCD Alliance released a policy brief that outlines the links between NCDs and Sustainable Development, and will hold two high-profile events at Rio+20. The first will be on NCD prevention and sustainable development and will feature IDF Board Member Ruth Colagiuri as keynote speaker, and the second will be on multisectoral frameworks for NCD control and sustainable development.

You can find out more about IDF and the NCD Alliance’s campaign on the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) here.

National Focus - China’s First 5 Year NCD Plan

This month the Chinese Government launched their first integrated five-year National Plan for NCD Prevention and Control (NCD Plan, 2012-2015). The Ministry of Health along with 14 other ministries and commissions have jointly drawn up the NCD Plan, which for th e first time has a strong emphasis on cross-governmental action for NCDs. At the UN Summit on NCDs last year all governments committed to establish or strengthen multisectoral national policies and plans for NCDs by 2013, and with this Plan, China has kept their promise. 

The Plan was launched at a NCD Policy Roundtable in Beijing which IDF CEO Ann Keeling attended. The Plan is based around several strategies, ranging from prevention, early diagnosis, management and treatment, healthcare professional training, monitoring, research and international cooperation. It includes a set of ambitious targets which are specific to the national context.  

This is a significant milestone. The most populous county on the planet, with escalating diabetes and NCD burdens, has demonstrated real leadership with the launch of this Plan. And it is in direct response to the UN Summit, which IDF and the NCD Alliance were instrumental in securing. And the strategies that underpin the Plan are guided by documents that IDF and the NCD Alliance influenced, including the UN Political Declaration on NCDs, the WHO Best Buys on NCDs Report, and The Lancet and NCD Alliance editorial on Priority Actions for the NCD Crisis. We have contributed in a major way to creating enabling environments for accelerating national and global progress on diabetes and NCDs.