Despite the increased attention to NCDs, there is still a critical need to understand gaps in existing global health policy that need to be eliminated if the global community is to address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases effectively and sustainably. How can we best marshal the resources of the public sector, private sector and civil society to meet the NCDs challenge? What policy changes need to be adopted by governments and other institutions to improve health outcomes globally?
Rabin Martin, in collaboration with the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health and the Study of Business Enterprise at The Johns Hopkins University, is making a CGI Commitment to Action to build a global advocacy program around a set of policy papers that explore gaps in health policy, research and practice that must be eliminated in order to address the growing global burden of non-communicable diseases effectively and sustainably.
Rabin Martin will implement this commitment by working in partnership with Johns Hopkins and a working group of international academic and other experts from Japan, Pakistan, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico and the United States, and contributing the extensive skills and experience of its professional staff in addressing how to effect policy change in global health.
This commitment addresses several key gaps in NCDs research and practice, and focuses on how the private sector (and the pharmaceutical industry in particular) can bring its expertise and resources to bear on the prevention and control of NCDs in emerging markets and developing countries as part of a 'whole-of-society' approach. The commitment will explore a range of available responses - in policies, practices and partnerships - required to meet the NCDs challenge and will offer pragmatic recommendations to bridge policy and practice, providing valuable resources for policy development and change. The goal is to catalyze wide-ranging policy dialogue that leads to the adoption of new approaches by key global health institutions and national governments.
The outcomes of this commitment will be shared with CGI members through its networks and forums, as well as being disseminated through related academic and global public policy networks.
In collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, Rabin Martin will launch a series of policy papers and briefs in the fall of 2012 on key policy gaps in the NCD response - on reconfiguring primary care, regulatory harmonization, supply chain and logistics management, improving the use of NCD interventions, and how to scale up multi-sectoral action.
These papers will be disseminated through a series of events and policy dialogues - in Geneva, Washington, New York and other venues - to reach a broad audience of policymakers and influential individuals, beginning in October 2012. Some preliminary results have already been shared with the CGI Action Network on NCDs, and Rabin Martin anticipates continued engagement with this network - for feedback and collaboration - with the CGI community for the next year.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases, are the leading global causes of death. NCDs are also largely preventable. They share common modifiable, behavioral risk factors, such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and harmful use of alcohol. Cost-effective interventions exist to reduce the burden of NCDs now - sustained action can prevent illness and avert millions of premature preventable deaths and the threat to individual health, population health, health systems and economic development. Over the past several years, a number of activities have highlighted the growing concern over NCDs, most importantly the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs (HLM) in September 2011, which laid out a clear global plan for surveillance, monitoring and health system response to prevent and control NCDs.
There are several policy implications of an increased focus on NCDs. First, policymakers and implementers will need to determine how best to incorporate NCDs into existing funding streams and programs. Unlike many infectious diseases or maternal and child health conditions that yield to fixed and often short-term responses, most NCDs are chronic in nature - the health problems require long-term care and attention and a strong health system. Second, international donors have not contributed substantial resources specifically for NCDs, though some policies have been established to address global health challenges comprehensively. Third, the HLM presented a special political opportunity to highlight needs and create a global strategy to address NCDs and their risk factors. Since the High-Level Meeting, the global community has agreed on an ambitious goal of achieving a 25% reduction in deaths from NCDs by 2025, together with related targets for prevention, risk factor reduction, and improvements in outcomes and an emphasis on strengthening and facilitating multi-sectoral action for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases through effective partnerships.