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June 1, 2018

Vital Strategies Agrees It’s Time To Deliver On NCDs

(New York, USA) – Vital Strategies welcomes the publication today of “Time To Deliver” the report of the World Health Organization (WHO) Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). This report will help to inform negotiations leading up to the Third United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on NCDs, to be held at the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday 27th September 2018.

José Luis Castro, Vital Strategies’ President and CEO said:

“At the third High-Level Meeting on NCDs in September, few governments will be able to report that they have made progress on the commitments made at previous meetings. We recognize the work of the commission in producing this report, which is intended to provide guidance to help governments move from intention to action – but argue that it should have gone further.

“There is a lot to welcome in the text, which suggests a move to expand NCD action to include risk factors like air pollution and road safety and conditions like poor mental health that are responsible for a significant proportion of the global burden of morbidity. We must ensure that governments don’t simply make new declarations – they need to be held accountable for implementing policies to make real and measurable progress on all NCDs and related risk factors.

“For example, we’d like all governments to implement taxes on alcohol, tobacco and other unhealthy products (especially sugary drinks) to simultaneously reduce NCDs and fund health programs. This policy is a clear win-win for progress on the SGD’s, as summarized in the STAX group paper published this week in The Lancet.

“We agree that governments should accelerate progress through partnerships, but as we highlighted in our “Fool Me Twice” report, it’s important to remember the commercial determinants of disease. Industry often is a barrier to progress. This is why Article 5.3 of FCTC underlines that tobacco industry is never an appropriate partner in health policy. Such conflicts must be avoided.

“In our global work, we have seen the way cities can be drivers of change to improve the health of millions of people. As the world’s urban population continues to grow, there is an urgent need for more urban leaders to consider how they can best manage the impact of NCDs in urban settings. There also needs to be more progress on alcohol: the level of attention on this issue, even in “Time to Deliver,” is not commensurate with the burden of harm. And we encourage all governments to make progress against the obesity epidemic and related disease by implementing best-practice marketing restrictions and impactful front of pack warning labels on unhealthy products. Restrictions that still enable unhealthy products to be advertised during family-friendly, prime time programming do not protect children.

“We know the burden of disease, we know the causes, and we know how to address them. WHO’s “Saving Lives, Spending Less” report noted that action would deliver a five-to-seven-fold return on investment. There is a moral, health and financial benefit in reducing NCDs, so countries must come to the High-Level Meeting prepared to make commitments and follow through with action. Civil society must be vocal in holding governments accountable. The time to deliver is now.”

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health expert, please contact press@vitalstrategies.org

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