World leaders commit to greater policy coherence and multisectoral action to address the threat of non-communicable diseases
New York, 27 September 2018 -World leaders on Thursday agreed to scale up efforts to prevent and control non‑communicable diseases. Adopting a Political Declaration during a high‑level meeting on non-communicable diseases leaders committed to greater policy coherence, programmes and multisectoral partnerships for coordinated, comprehensive and integrated responses.
“The AU is committed to translate this Political Declaration into concrete action at the policy and programmatic levels for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. This will require Member States to put in place policies with key actions on integrating a set of cost-effective, affordable and evidence based interventions for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases” said Her Excellency Mrs. Amira Elfadil Mohammed, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs.
Addressing upstream determinants of non-communicable diseases such as education, pollution control, and road safety, which require action beyond the health sector can contribute to significant reduction of the new global health threat. Key actions in the Declaration include the need to reduce the impact of marketing unhealthy foods and beverages to children. The Declaration also pushes for the production and promotion of more food products consistent with a healthy diet, including by reformulating products to provide healthier options that are affordable and accessible and that follow relevant nutrition facts and labelling standards, including information on sugars, salt and fats.
“Non-communicable diseases are set to become the leading cause of death in Africa by 2030. They are a threat not only to human health and well-being, but also development and economic growth. Without targeted and sustained effective interventions, they will constitute a poverty trap, with major consequences on individuals, economies and societies” said Hon. Patrick C. Ndimubanzi, Minister of State in Charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care in Rwanda.
The Declaration advances the promotion and creation of an enabling environment for healthy behaviours among workers, including establishing tobacco-free workplaces and safe and healthy working environments through occupational safety. It further seeks to work towards reducing the use of salt in the food industry in order to lower sodium consumption. Improving access to affordable medicines and technologies in the prevention, care, treatment and control of non-communicable diseases is a key policy issue in national health frameworks.
The difficult path ahead is to work towards achieving universal health coverage through the implementation of people-centred primary health care services with an adequate and well-equipped health workforce so that preventive interventions can be provided for all. Strengthening health systems in alignment with the Africa Health Strategy (2016-2030) will see improved health outcomes and enhance greater access to affordable, safe, effective and quality assured medicines and diagnostics.
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The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. AU Vision An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena. www.au.int