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Building resilient health systems in the region of the Americas

22 Sep 2021

This is a statement made by the World Heart Federation, CLAS Coalition for Americas’ Health, and NCD Alliance at the 73rd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Americas on Agenda Item 4.8: Strategy for Building Resilient Health Systems and Post COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery to Sustain and Protect Public Health Gains.


Honourable Chair, Distinguished Delegates,

The World Heart Federation, CLAS and NCD Alliance welcome the opportunity to address PAHO Directing Council on one of the most critical subjects of our time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an incalculable toll on the mental, physical, and fiscal health of our societies. This past year has united us in facing a truly global challenge that has exposed deep, enduring fault lines and inequities in the population health and health systems of nearly every country represented here today.

The combined impacts of cardiac complications due to COVID-19 and interruptions to crucial medical interventions and ongoing care for people living with hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, and other circulatory and non-communicable disease conditions (NCDs) – those most at risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19 – will almost certainly exacerbate the already huge burden borne by stressed and often ill-equipped health systems.

We therefore implore you to urgently address the key risk factors and preventative measures that can help fight the hidden “syndemic” of NCDs, and especially circulatory diseases, and health emergencies such as COVID-19. We call on Member States of the Americas Region to:

• Prioritize ongoing prevention, screening, and treatment for circulatory conditions and other NCDs in national COVID-19, emergency response and recovery plans, with people at the center;
• Increase domestic allocation of resources and develop targeted policies to tackle CVD and NCD risk factors, including the commercial determinants of health, through funding mechanisms such as taxation of unhealthy commodities (tobacco, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food);
• Integrate monitoring and data collection on NCD prevalence, comorbidities, and risk factors into measures of pandemic readiness, resilience, and response; and
• Strengthen Primary Health Care to ensure equitable and integrated access to essential health services, particularly for people living with NCDs and in low-resource settings.

Thank you.


Lee el anuncio en español: Item Agenda 4.8 – WHF Resiliencia de los Sistemas de Salud SPA


A Global NCD Agenda for Resilience and Recovery from COVID-19. 2021.