Noncommunicable Diseases: More Than a Health Crisis

Linda Brookes, MSc; Eduardo L. Cazap, MD, PhD

Disclosures

September 02, 2011

In This Article

Can an Alliance of Physicians Effect Change?

Over the past few years, a key point of discussion has been whether the diseases represented within the NCD Alliance – cardiovascular, diabetes, lung, and cancer – should be represented individually or together. "I was against this type of collaboration at the beginning," Dr. Cazap admitted, "but at the end I realized that it would be extremely difficult for each [disease] to obtain a positive result alone. Our aim is to obtain at the end of September a document putting the 4 diseases on the political agenda. It is important to remember that for politicians, it is necessary to send a clear and concrete message, which is that all diseases are relevant."

There has been discussion among different national groups about how each country might interpret the final outcomes document and set different goals in NCDs. In some lower-income countries it is feared that action against NCDs will have a negative impact on work against infectious diseases. "I think the situation will be clearer in 1-2 years," Dr. Cazap said, "but that very much depends on the final outcome document produced at the Summit. If the outcome document stays on the desk of a minister of health, nothing will change. Politicians need urgent results to show to the people who elect them. The only way to convince politicians to follow the outcomes document will be to produce a report to the United Nations on how they are doing 1 year later, and if a country is not taking appropriate action, it will be subject to punitive action. If the document is merely a declaration, politicians will not care. If the world could produce another global document that has not only suggestions but also commitments and metrics and objectives, that would have a very positive impact," Dr. Cazap declared.

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