Thursday, June 7, 2018

Time to Deliver on NCDs

World Stroke Organization Calls for Bolder Commitments and Action to Reverse the Tide of Non-Communicable Diseases 

The World Stroke Organization has joined partners in the NCD Alliance and over 210 civil society organisations (CSOs) to welcome the Report of the WHO Independent High-­Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), Time To Deliver, launched on Friday 1 June in Geneva, Switzerland, ahead of crucial negotiations for the United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs (UN HLM), which will take place in New York on 27 September.

The Commission's report follows hot on the heels of the Report of the UN Secretary General, which showed inadequate attention, investment and innovation in relation to SDG 3. Time to Deliver, draws a line in the sand on the need for political leaders to accept that progress to date has been severely inadequate and out of step with the growing burden of NCDs and mental and neurological health.

All evidence points to the same unpleasant reality: if the current pace of progress continues unabated, by 2030 the agreed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to reduce premature NCD mortality by 30% will remain a distant reality. Without action now, millions of people will have been failed. Millions of people and communities will have lost loved ones of all ages to avoidable death. Millions more will have had to adjust to living with, or supporting someone with a disability. Millions more will have struggled with the entrenched poverty and untold misery that are often the product of weak health and social protection systems.

40 million people who die every year due to NCDs, 14m people of those die of stroke and 50m people are left permanently disabled as a result of stroke. Behind every statistic is a person, with a family and a story, with a right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. But accidents of geography and poverty are still tragically cutting lives short and reducing the quality of life of everyone touched by stroke.

As stroke clinicians and representatives of stroke survivors and supporters around the world, the WSO is all too familiar with the realities on the ground and the consequences of political inertia to people, communities and the most vulnerable. We have had enough of political inaction and the glacial progress on NCDs which is having such a disastrous effect on the lives of stroke patients, families and societies.

We are impatient for change, and we not only join the Commission in saying is it time for our governments to deliver, but that delivery on commitments is overdue and vital. If countries want to avoid sleepwalking into a sick future, the UN HLM must result in bold commitments and action.

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