Last September, I told you about the United Nations’ High Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) that took place in New York City.
I was honored to serve on the U.S. delegation to this meeting, an historic opportunity to put NCDs—including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory diseases—on the global health agenda. There, health experts and government leaders from around the world started charting a course of action for controlling and preventing these diseases.
Let me remind you of the pressing need for this work. In 2008, NCDs accounted for approximately 63% of deaths worldwide. Tragically, this is projected to increase from 36 million to 44 million annual deaths by 2020 and threaten to dramatically impact countries’ economies—unless UN member states develop appropriate policy and public health interventions to prevent, treat and manage these diseases.
In the last few months, the American Diabetes Association has joined forces with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association to support the follow-up to the UN meeting under the banner of the Preventive Health Partnership (PHP), our joint initiative to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use, poor diet and insufficient physical activity and to increase the use of screening tests for early detection of NCDs.
As the leading voluntary U.S.-based organizations addressing NCDs and representing millions of volunteers and patients, we call on the rest of the country to take a strong leadership role in translating commitments made at the September UN meeting into action.
We must work together to sustain our momentum and urge all governments and UN leaders to do the same. Please read the PHP’s new statement calling for urgent action by UN member states to address NCDs.
The Association is committed to stopping diabetes, not just at home but also abroad. Throughout the world, 366 million people have diabetes; that number is expected to balloon to 552 million by 2030 if we don’t act now. We simply cannot let that happen.
Step by step, we’re getting closer to stopping diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. Stay tuned to the Association’s blog for further updates on this important international work.
Larry Hausner, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
American Diabetes Association