Non-Communicable Diseases Take Center Stage at the UN General Assembly

Posted by Krysten Carrera
September 21, 2011
Lab Officer Extracts Cancer Cells

Over the past two days, the eyes of the world have turned to the United Nations headquarters in New York for the 66th UN General Assembly, where presidents and prime ministers assemble to discuss pressing global challenges of our day. Non-communicable diseases, or NCDs -- including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes -- are among those challenges. NCDs cause two-thirds of deaths around the globe. This week's General Assembly events featured the first-ever High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. This meeting served as a timely opportunity for the world community to focus needed attention and leadership on the growing threat posed by NCDs and to spur worldwide action.

"The United States welcomes the opportunity today to learn from the public health efforts of our neighbors around the globe -- and ask what steps we can take together to reduce the burden of chronic disease on the people of the world," said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday in a speech delivered at the UN.

The United States is fully committed to addressing the issue of NCDs by taking a "whole of government" approach to the problem. Ultimately, however, successfully preventing and controlling NCDs will require action well beyond the public health sector. We also need a multi-stakeholder approach that includes civil society, NGOs, industry, the private sector, academia, media, and the research community. We have seen tremendous interest from these communities in the United States, and that interest was evident at the high-level meeting. The message coming from this meeting? Working together, we can make considerable progress in preventing and controlling NCDs.

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