Remember that time when world leaders got together to talk about the global cancer burden? Well, we’re back in New York two years later, and noncommunicable diseases – or NCDs – are still a hot topic. This time, governments are tackling the question: What we do for health worldwide and overall human development?
What does that have to do with NCDs? Here’s the thing: As the leading cause of death globally, cancer and other chronic diseases need to be considered among important health priorities for future international policies and programs. And NCDs aren’t just a health problem; they have implications for economic, environmental, and social issues. Thus, advocates here are lobbying for NCDs to be front-and-center in those negotiations, so people worldwide could lead healthy, productive lives.
These conversations aren’t just happening in the walls of the UN. Events like the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting continue to highlight important aspects of the global NCD crisis and debate what solutions are most viable for addressing it across public and private sectors. The moderator of this year’s panel, Chelsea Clinton, appeared on US television to talk about the urgent need for attention and action to mitigate chronic diseases, reaching an even wider audience. More people are beginning to understand what the foundation has been saying for years: that cancer and other NCDs are a major global burden requiring dedicated stakeholder collaboration and resources to prevent and treat them.
What now? Our partners at NCD Alliance will continue to work with health as well as development organizations and representatives to integrate NCDs across the multiple dimensions of international policy. That means we consider how gender equality can be achieved by addressing the uneven cervical cancer burden in low- and middle-income countries. Or we acknowledge the effects of urbanization on physical activity and healthy diets. Or we protect national economies by lowering prices for essential NCD medicines and technologies. The good news is that NCDs are gaining momentum in critical global discussions. We have spoken and people are listening. What’s left to do is make sure we follow through.
Check out #NCDmomentum on Twitter to track related events this week and follow all of the ongoing discussions.