International Federation of Medical Students' Associations

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Meeting: 
144th session of the Executive Board<br>24 January - 1 February 2019
Agenda Item: 
5.8.2 Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases
Statement: 

This statement is delivered by the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations and the World Medical Association, with the support of the International Association of Dental Students. As health professionals, we are committed to working collaboratively to protect current and future generations from NCDs.

We are concerned that progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 is inadequate. Following the limited number of ambitious financial commitments made at the 3rd High-Level Meeting, global funding for NCDs remains disproportionate to disease burden, and political inertia threatens the rapid progress that is needed.

We welcome the integration of mental health and air pollution into the NCD agenda through the 5x5 approach. Mental ill-health and major physical NCDs are linked to many of the same social, political, economic, cultural, environmental and commercial factors. We must take affirmative steps to rectify these social and economic disadvantages.

We recognise fiscal measures as effective regulatory approaches to reducing the use of health-harming products, with the added economic benefits of increasing government revenue and decreasing healthcare costs. We call upon Member States to increase taxation on tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages. Fiscal policies should not be seen as barriers to trade and there should not be penalties to nations that implement them. Furthermore, the private sector should take responsibility for its impact on population health, and dialogues advocated by the High-Level Meeting should ensure that commercial priorities do not impact policy development.

Finally, we call upon Member States to include youth as key stakeholders in NCD policies. Firstly, the majority of NCD risk factors take root through behaviour acquired in adolescence. Secondly, youth have enormous potential as changemakers. Interventions that are developed by young people for young people can accelerate NCD strategies.