The Global Week for Action on Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) starts today, and the message is clear!
No action is too small; no voice is insignificant in the fight against the world’s largest killers, which are estimated to
cause 41 million deaths annually.
This week aims to unite the NCD movement each year under a specific theme, concentrating our combined efforts to reduce the NCD burden globally and increase health and equality.
This year’s theme is ‘Bridging the care gap’ which is about communicating that the moment for caring is now. Fifty per cent of the world’s people still do not have access to essential health services, despite healthcare being a human right. The Global Week of Action offers opportunities for everyone to play a role in changing that.
The aim is to slow the increasing burden of NCDs, thanks to the contributions of people everywhere. Actions can be big or small - the power of the Global Week for Action comes through collaboration across countries and sectors towards a common goal: reducing preventable death and illness and increasing health and equity around the world!
HPF’s Deputy Executive Director Health Promotion (with Portfolio in Pacific Island development) Dr Viliami Puloka is encouraging everyone to get involved in the week and help to raise awareness about NCDs, and the risk factors associated with them.
Weeks like these says Dr Puloka are so important because they shine the spotlight on a particular issue.
‘So many things are happening around the world, and dedicating a week or day to a specific issue signifies that it is important, and invites us to focus on that particular issue.
‘With NCDs they are a problem here in Aotearoa and around the world. They affect everyone! They have an impact on health, the economy, social and more. Their impact is tremendous at all levels, and the most vulnerable in our communities, including Maori and Pasifika have the highest rates.’
Dr Puloka adds that one of the key ways to preventing NCDs, and where the battle can be best fought and won, is in the ‘hearts and minds of the people. It has to be at the whanau level’.
Alison Cox, Policy and Advocacy Director of the NCD Alliance says the World Health Organisation has declared the end of Covid-19 as a global health emergency, yet the need for greater political will to strengthen health systems is as urgent as ever.
‘We are calling on leaders to prioritise people’s health including through NCD prevention and care. To be better prepared for, and more resilient against future public health emergencies, we need to invest in supporting healthier populations and stronger health services.’
This year’s Global Week for Action coincides with the United Nations High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Universal Health Coverage on 21 September, 2023, which offers the opportunity for governments to agree on specific actions to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, a commitment previously made by all world leaders.
The result of the UN HLM on UHC will be a Political Declaration in which Member States will agree to make various commitments towards achieving UHC. The NCD Alliance is calling for commitments to:
- Invest in prevention and care of non-communicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes;
- Speed up implementation of integrated UHC packages that tackle infectious and chronic diseases comprehensively;
- Align sustainable development and global health priorities; and
- Engage people living with NCDs in decisions that affect their health.
Katie Dain CEO of the NCD Alliance says the upcoming United Nations High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage in September is THE place for governments to align their commitments to deliver the needed investment in equitable and accessible health systems for all.
‘This is the moment to show the world they care. This is the moment for caring,’ she says.
Read more about how can you take action HERE.