Global Health Groups Organize to Tackle NCDs

Posted on: January 20th, 2011 by Arogya World

We are bringing you two examples of new groups that have formed to organize the global health community around the issue of NCDs in advance of the UN NCD Summit and beyond.

A major force is emerging in global health and development: the NCD Alliance. Based in Europe, The Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance is “a formal alliance of four international federations,” including The International Diabetes Federation, The World Heart Foundation, The Union for International Cancer Control, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and boasting a membership of nearly 900 organizations in countries around the world. They are both organized and organizing through high level advocacy to get the upcoming UN high-level meeting and its Outcomes Document to be as effective as they can be. An important initiative is the Common Interest Group, established by the Alliance to mobilize the chronic disease community and NGOs. So far, the Alliance has been an invaluable resource for us in the NCD community and an important clearinghouse for information related to the UN Summit.

Last week, the Global Health Council (GHC), the world’s largest membership alliance dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the world, held the inaugural meeting of their new NCD Roundtable in Washington DC. Made up of members of the GHC interested in addressing NCDs, the group brings together members from a broad range of organizations, including representatives from industry, NGOs and patient groups to not only shape the NCD Summit, but also to focus on NCDs within the broader context of global health policy moving forward. Chaired by the American Cancer Society, the NCD Alliance and the GHC, this is an exciting effort to integrate NCDs into global health and galvanize the sometimes different communities that make up global health to come together around the issue of NCDs. By championing the start of this Roundtable, and by making NCDs the theme of their annual conference in June, the GHC is playing a significant role in generating interest around NCDs.

Adeeb Mahmud of FSG also wrote about the GHC’s Roundtable meeting last week. See The Fight Against NCDs Gains Momentum, his thoughtful response in their Global Health Blog.

Arogya World founder Nalini Saligram says, “We are thrilled to be a part of both groups and support their herculean efforts to ensure civil society has a seat at the table. The upcoming UN high-level meeting is not just symbolic, but as remarked at last week’s GHC meeting, a transformational opportunity to rally the entire world around NCDs. Consistent with our philosophy, we refuse to sit on the sidelines and have jumped into this work with both feet.”

By working closely together, these organizations can compound their influence, build on one another’s strengths and have an impact that is greater than the sum of its parts. With the incidence of NCDs growing around the world, we know that now is the time to act to highlight the toll that diabetes, heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease take on people, families, communities and nations, and to incite governments and policy makers to step up their efforts to address these serious diseases.