WHO announced a new high-level commission, comprised of heads of state and ministers, leaders in health and development and entrepreneurs. The group will propose bold and innovative solutions to accelerate prevention and control of the leading killers on the planet – noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like heart and lung disease, cancers, and diabetes.
The WHO Independent High-level Commission on NCDs is co-chaired by President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay; President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka; President Sauli Niinistö of Finland; Veronika Skvortsova, Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation; and Sania Nishtar, former Federal Minister of Pakistan.
Many lives can be saved from NCDs through early diagnosis and improved access to quality and affordable treatment, as well as a whole-of-government approach to reduce the main risk factors.
The new Commission was established by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and runs until October 2019. It will provide actionable recommendations to contribute to the Third United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on NCDs scheduled for the second half of 2018. This will include the submission of its first report to Dr Tedros in early June.
Co-chair Dr Sania Nishtar says the Commission’s establishment has come at an opportune time, as the world prepares for the UN High-level Meeting on NCDs. “This year, governments will be held to account on progress they have made in protecting their citizens from NCDs,” says Dr Nishtar. “While there have been improvements in some countries and regions, the overall rate of progress has been unacceptably slow. This is resulting in too many people suffering and dying needlessly from NCDs, and leaving families, communities and governments to bear the human and economic costs.”