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Sixth Annual Meeting of “Friends of the Task Force” working with member states to deliver SDG targets related to NCDs during and after COVID-19

On 24 September 2020, the Friends of Task Force met in the margin of a high-level segment of 75ThSession of the United Nations General Assembly. Participants included member states, United Nations agencies, and non-state actors.

The meeting was co-hosted by the government of the Russian Federation and the World Health Organization, and co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Program, the International Development Law Organization, and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The meeting provided an opportunity to review the task force’s contribution to global efforts to prevent and control NCDs, with a particular focus on NCDs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Director General of WHO also announced fifteen winners of the 2020 UNIATF Award.

The Task Force Secretariat provided a brief overview of the previous year’s task force activities.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko of the Russian Federation highlighted the importance of a systematic approach to dealing with NCDs and praised the work done by the task force in promoting multi-sectoral cooperation in the field of NCDs, including the development of WHO. National NCD Investment Cases under UNDP Joint Program. The Russian Federation is now providing an additional $ 5 million over the next five years to build on this work. Minister Murasco welcomed the contributions of Italy, the European Commission and the Gulf Health Council to the task force’s work.

WHO Director General Drs. Tedros Adnom Ghebreyes emphasized the importance of strengthening the NCD response during and after COVID-19. He highlighted the impact of the epidemic on NCDs and mental health and stated that strong action on NCDs should be an integral part of COVID-19 response and recovery. The Director-General reminded the participants that they had recently started a joint WHO, UNDP and task force publication, Response to NCDs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Tedros described the WHO’s commitment to work with members of the task force to establish NCD and Mental Health Multi-partner Trust Fund. Once established, Drs. Tedros said it would call on partners to raise additional resources beyond the WHO’s budget to support countries for their response to the NCD.

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 is a setback for our efforts to defeat the NCD, but we cannot let this be an excuse for failing to fulfill our commitments. Conversely, we should use it as motivation to work hard! “Dr. Tedros

Aksal Jacobsen, Norway’s Secretary of State for International Development, described Norway’s NCD Development Policy (2020-2024), which would support low-income countries in their efforts to address NCDs. They underlined the high burden of NCD and COVID-19 comorbidity. The Secretary of State called on countries to ensure that prevention, detection and treatment of NCDs are included in their COVID-19 response plans, which highlights the importance of political commitment to achieve equality and equity for health protection. is.

“The long-term global understanding in prevention and control of NCDs is the reason behind this tragic development.” Maan Jacobsen.

Nigeria’s Health Minister, Dr. Osagi Ahnier thanked the task force for its mission to Nigeria earlier this year, indicating that the mission’s recommendations have been approved by the President, and established an implementation unit to implement the recommendations is.

United Kingdom Deputy Chief Medical Officer Drs. Jennifer Harries talked about Britain’s efforts to fight major NCD risk factors, as well as support for obesity and the UK to live mentally well during the epidemic. Dr. Harries emphasized the importance of a multilateral approach to addressing NCDs, highlighting the national WHO Framework Convention for UK-backed Tobacco Control (FCTC) investment.

“The UK will support joint programming on multilateral through multi-partner trust funds to catalyze action on NCDs in low and middle income countries at such critical times.” Dr. Harry’s.

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr. Rafael Mariano Grossi, described the IAEA’s cooperation with the WHO over many years, specifically in relation to the human health program, to address NCD challenges across a range of medical issues. Mr. Grossi highlighted IAEA’s work in building capacity to detect NCDs and COVID-19, including the provision of thousands of health professionals with resources on the use of radiology for diagnosis and treatment.

“Medical imaging has a significant impact on our understanding of COVID-19-related signs and symptoms.” Mr. Gross.

Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Emanula Del Rey shared Italy’s experience in dealing with NCDs, although promoting a healthy diet and food quality assurance.

“Healthy lifestyles and balanced diets not only prevent NCDs, but have a positive impact on people’s general health, especially children in the first years of life.” Maan del Rey.

Oman Sultanate Health Minister Ahmed Mohammed Obaid Al Saidi highlighted the increasing use of innovative digital technology solutions for NCD care, which emerged from the constraints imposed by COVID-19.

“The Oman service route for NCD care seekers has been rearranged to ensure safety for patients and safe delivery of services and medicines. This undoubtedly invited innovation and the introduction of new measures that relied on technology. “The Honorable Al Saeedi.

Ms. Jan Beagle, Director General of the International Development Law Organization, emphasized the importance of the rule of law and functioning of the legal and regulatory framework for adequate and equitable NCD and COVID-19 care for all.

“Now, more than ever, COVID-19 is exposed and agitated by the rampant injustice and equality under which many people still live and from which no nation can claim to be exempted.” Ms. Beagle.

Ms. Katie Dion, Chief Executive Officer of the NCD Alliance, welcomed the task force’s recent focus on NCD treatment and management, as well as the development of a multi-partner trust fund.

“COVID-19 should be a wake-up call for governments and political leaders to value, prioritize and invest in health, NCDs and prevention. We will not be prepared for the next pandemic, or any other health threat until we actually gripe with the burden of NCDs. “Ms. Dan.

The head of the Secretariat of FCTC, Dr. Adriana Blanco Marquizo spoke about the threat posed by the tobacco industry in the context of COVID-19 and NCDs, and the critical role that WHO FCTC plays in directing national and international efforts to reduce global tobacco prevalence. Dr. Blanco pointed to the sensitization of the population about the importance of health caused by COVID-19, highlighting the urgent need to support tobacco users.

Ms. Leena Nanushiyan from the Ministry of Health in Armenia highlighted Armenia’s experience in working with the Task Force on the development and implementation of a national NCD investment case. Ms Nanushan underlined that the consequences of the investment case were argued earlier this year to adopt a strict tobacco control law.

Dr. in the United Nations Development Program. Douglas Webb, Cluster Leader, HIV Health and Development GroupTalked about the opportunity to address NCDs through national COVID-19 response and recovery plans, which enhance synergy with NCD-related action within and outside the health sector. Dr. Webb supported the multi-partner trust fund in view of the significant funding gap in response to NCDs.

“Multi-partner trust funds are an important technical tool that allows member states to move forward to strengthen their NCD response.” Dr. Web.

Mr. Yahya Alfassi from the Gulf Health Council briefed the participants about the ongoing work to develop NCD investment cases for six countries across the region through the WHO-UNDP joint program under the task force.

Mr. William Tomei of Johnson & Johnson praised the Access Initiative for Quitting Tobacco (AIQT) for improving global access to tobacco prohibition, saying it was an important step to curb very high economic and social costs Was what tobacco imposes on our society. .

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