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CVD champion Dr Sania Nishtar will co-chair WHO Commission on NCDs

16 Feb 2018

The World Heart Federation is thrilled to announce that CVD champion and former WHF board member Dr Sania Nishtar will be serving as a co-chair on the newly announced World Health Organization (WHO) Independent Global High-level Commission on NCDs.

The commission is comprised of heads of state and ministers, leaders in health and development and entrepreneurs, and will propose bold and innovative solutions to accelerate prevention and control of the leading killers on the planet – noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like heart and lung disease, cancers, and diabetes.

The impressive list includes the presidents of Finland, Uruguay, Sri Lanka and Chile, as well as many ministers and public health leaders, boosting optimism that the UN High-level Meeting on NCDs will be highly regarded by world leaders. With the 2018 High-level Meeting just months away, the work of the Independent Global High-level Commission is essential.

“This year, governments will be held to account on progress they have made in protecting their citizens from NCDs,” says Dr Nishtar. “While there have been improvements in some countries and regions, the overall rate of progress has been unacceptably slow. This is resulting in too many people suffering and dying needlessly from NCDs, and leaving families, communities and governments to bear the human and economic costs.”

Seven in 10 deaths globally every year are from NCDs, the main contributors to which are tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. More than 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 70 years die from NCDs annually. Low- and lower-middle income countries are increasingly affected, with half of premature deaths from NCDs occurring in those countries. Many lives can be saved from NCDs through early diagnosis and improved access to quality and affordable treatment, as well as a whole-of-government approach to reduce the main risk factors.

The new Commission was established by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and runs until October 2019. It will provide actionable recommendations to contribute to the Third United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on NCDs scheduled for the second half of 2018. This will include the submission of its first report to Dr Tedros in early June.