September 19th’s UN Summit hits an upset

I seem to keep saying, “If you read my last post…” but this is a story that keeps growing. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), who are driving a campaign to get President Obama to the first-ever high-level UN Summit to contain and eradicate non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the top 4 of which are: cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory and yes, disease – now cites a stand-off getting U.S. and European Union representatives to commit to outcomes and timelines. 

The IDF issued a press release early this morning that some UN member states are jeopardising international progress by trying to postpone and weaken United Nations negotiations.

The press release goes on to say, “Of particular concern are the actions of the U.S., Canada and the European Union to block proposals for the inclusion of an overarching goal: to cut preventable deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025.

As Jacquelyn Beals, PhD writes at Medscape News in “UN Summit on Noncommunicable Diseases Hits Snag”negotiations over an outcomes document for discussion at the Summit have hit a wall, with the United States and the European Union opposing many of the target-oriented resolutions on the grounds that they would be responsible for the bulk of the action items. Because developed nations would foot much of the bill for combating NCDs, they are reluctant to commit to time-bound targets in an uncertain economy.

Brian Ward, policy advisor for the European Respiratory Society, says in the article, “Despite the fact that the NCD burden is highest in Europe and the United States, these regions have also been very reluctant to commit any financial support to this UN process aimed at tackling the NCD epidemic.”

President of IDF, Jean-Claude Mbanya, MD, PhD, who will address the delegates at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting on September 13, says we have the evidence cost-effective solutions are available and with the Summit we have the political opportunity.  

With President Obama engulfed in the U.S.’s financial woes it’s easy to say let’s concentrate our attention and finances on jobs, yet something else he said early in his presidency is healthcare will bankrupt us if it, and we, don’t change.

Ann Keeling, CEO of IDF and chair of the NCD Allianceand CEO of IDF, which groups some 2,000 health organisations from around the world focused on non-communicable diseases says rich nations are reluctant to foot much of the bill for tackling a chronic disease epidemic in poorer nations, and are reluctant to commit to this when their economies are in turmoil. But such fears are short-sighted.

So which comes first? Put our money toward helping people around the world, and here, to achieve better health in order to halt health care costs from bankrupting us and halt non-communicable diseases from impeding global progress and devastating the world economy or ignore the state of the world’s health and pay later? 


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