Medicus Mundi International
MMI appreciates this opportunity to address the EB. Our statement is supported by PHM. We welcome WHO’s efforts to address NCDs but wishes to express the following concerns.
NCDs are an important cause of death worldwide, both in HIC and in LMIC. Yet, LMIC face a double burden as communicable disease remain a high priority. MS efforts to allocate necessary resources must be bolstered by developing international financing mechanisms for addressing NCDs as part of a health systems' strengthening strategy. Additionally, more support and clearer guidelines are needed to implement health system programs, intersectoral collaboration, regulation, and fiscal strategies.
We are concerned about the multi-stakeholder dialogue that WHO is embracing with the private sector. WHO itself acknowledges that ‘Multinationals with vested interests regularly interfere with health policy-making and impedes implementation of preventive measures and control of NCD’. We urge WHO to follow an evidence-based approach and, therefore, to stop engaging with private companies with vested interests in blocking public health measures.
We welcome the emphasis on taxing alcohol, tobacco and sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce NCDs. However, strengthening CPHC should be given greater priority in the NCD strategy in order to implement an integrated, preventative public health approach. For example, tax interventions cannot be detached from measures ensuring food security, equitable access to healthy food, and technical support for implementing any new regulations. In particular, targeted advertising to children and adolescents should be banned.
Furthermore, the high prices of essential medicines constitute a barrier to treating NCDs. We urge MS to use TRIPS flexibilities to secure medications for NCDs.
Without supporting the struggles for food sovereignty, CPHC, and socioeconomic justice, WHO will not be able to meaningfully and sustainably prevent the growth of NCDs.