IntraHealth International Inc.(IntraHealth)

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases

IntraHealth International applauds the efforts of the WHO, the Director-General, Member States, and dedicated partners in responding to the noncommunicable disease (NCD) crisis affecting us all. Last year’s third High Level Meeting of the General Assembly was a signature moment that must be followed by concrete actions. Diverse global stakeholders joined forces to make important declarations for increased attention, resources, and accountability. Together we must hold countries, health systems, the private sector, and civil society accountable for meeting these ambitious commitments.

We commend the WHO for including the NCD agenda within the 2019–2023 Global Program of Work, and for highlighting the centrality of integrating prevention and control of NCDs within people-centered primary health services and universal health coverage. Better prevention and management of NCDs hinges on stronger health systems at all levels, with a health workforce competent to diagnose, treat, and manage NCDs and their comorbidities.

We applaud the progress made in the NCD agenda leading up to and since the High Level Meeting, namely, the inclusion of mental health in the now 5x5 agenda, the publishing of the 2018 NCD country profiles as a way better track progress, and the work to develop a subset of “NCD accelerators” within the overall set of interventions included in the WHO list of best buys. At the same time, we remain concerned that progress, especially in low- and middle-income countries, is not keeping pace with the gravity of the crisis.

We are especially concerned about the lack in many countries of NCD national coordination mechanisms, approved evidence-based national guidelines for NCD management at the primary level, and national NCD surveillance systems. We urge member states to work with the WHO and its partners to invest in these basic building blocks for success.