Africa: WHO Independent Global High-level Commission on NCDs

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The WHO logo for the campaign to combat non-communicable diseases.
press release

Leaders in health, politics and development have accepted to participate in the first-ever WHO Independent Global High-level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), which aims to identify and propose bold and practical ways to curb the world's leading causes of death and illness.

The Commission was announced in 2017 by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). The Commissioners will recommend actions to accelerate progress in tackling NCDs, primarily cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and respiratory disease, and promoting mental health and well-being.

The proposed co-chairs of the Commission are Dr Tabaré Vázquez, President of Uruguay; Mr Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka; Ms Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Finland; Dr Veronika Skvortsova, Minister of Healthcare, Russian Federation; and Dr Sania Nishtar, a former Federal Minister of Pakistan and civil society leader.

The co-chairs of the Commission are:

  •     Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland
  •     Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka
  •     Tabaré Vázquez, President of Uruguay
  •     Veronika Skvortsova, Minister of Healthcare, Russian Federation
  •     Sania Nishtar, former Federal Minister of Pakistan and civil society leader.

Click here for full list

The final composition of the Commission announced today follows a two-week period, during which the public had the opportunity to provide information on any conflicts of interest related to its members.

The need to accelerate action to beat NCDs is high on the global political agenda in 2018, with world leaders expected to participate in the third United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on NCDs.

NCDs kill 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 each year. Low- and lower-middle income countries are particularly affected by NCDs with almost 50% of premature deaths from NCDs occurring in these countries. In addition, NCDs are responsible for the deaths of 7 in 10 people across all ages globally, equivalent to approximately 40 million people.

In 2015, world leaders committed to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Recent WHO reports indicate that the world will struggle to meet that target.

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