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WHA73: Statement from WHF and the Global Coalition on COVID-19 and NCDs

12 Nov 2020

73rd WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY – Agenda Item 11.2.

Joint Statement by the World Heart Federation and Global Coalition for Circulatory Health.

Honorable Chair, distinguished delegates,

Given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living with NCDs and circulatory conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, CVD, and stroke, the International Society of Nephrology, International Diabetes Federation, World Heart Federation, and World Stroke Organization reiterate our support for Political Declaration (A73/5) on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.

As members of the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health, we urge you to recognize the impact of COVID-19 on patients with acute or permanent kidney failure, heart disease, and other circulatory conditions, many of whom face interruption to, or the unavailability of, life-saving treatments such as dialysis and transplantation.

We would also highlight the steadily increasing prevalence of multimorbidity over the past 20 years.

Kidney disease, like CVD, stroke, diabetes, and other circulatory diseases, can be triggered or worsened by other conditions, synergistically lowering the quality of life participation for the individuals affected, who also tend to have the highest rates[1] of multimorbidity and are therefore especially vulnerable in weak health systems.

Whilst multimorbidity is a growing public health concern, research into its impacts is limited due to the current lack of focus on this issue in existing global commitments.

Accordingly, we call upon Member States and the WHO to:

  • Recognize multi-morbidity and co-morbidity as a growing worldwide public health concern that may affect over 1.7 billion people living with life threatening NCDs[2]
  • Prioritize their inclusion between NCDs in the design and implementation of policies aiming at the prevention, early detection and treatment of all NCDs and their common risk factors via the delivery of health services that meet quality criteria.
  • Maximize common efforts to create and reinforce health systems that deliver affordable, people-centered, integrated, multi-sectoral and comprehensive NCD response to multiple morbidities, leaving no disease behind during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


[2] Clark A, Jit M, Warren-Gash C, et al. Global, regional, and national estimates of the population at increased risk of severe COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions in 2020: a modelling study. Lancet Glob Health. 2020 (Accessed 20.07.2020)


About the 73rd World Health Assembly

The resumed WHA73 will take place virtually from 9-14 November 2020, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The resumed session follows the reduced (de minimis) meeting of 18-19 May 2020. All documents can be found on the main documents page for the WHA73.