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Sixth Annual assembly of the “Friends of the Task Force” Working with Member States to ship the NCD-related SDG targets throughout and past COVID-19

On 24 September 2020, the Friends of the Task Force met within the margins of the high-level section of the 75thsession of the United Nations General Assembly. Participants included Member States, UN businesses and non-State actors.

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

The assembly offered a possibility to assessment the contribution of the Task Force to international efforts to scale up prevention and management NCDs, with a particular concentrate on NCDs through the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO Director-General additionally introduced the fifteen winners of the 2020 UNIATF Awards.  

The Task Force Secretariat offered a quick overview of Task Force actions during the last 12 months.  

Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Health of the Russian Federation, highlighted the significance of a scientific method to combating NCDs and expressed his appreciation of the work carried out by the Task Force in selling multi-sectoral collaboration within the space of NCDs, together with via the event of the nationwide NCD funding instances beneath the WHO-UNDP joint programme.  The Russian Federation is now offering an extra $ 5 million over the subsequent 5 years to construct on this work. Minister Murashko welcomed contributions from Italy, the European Commission and the Gulf Health Council for the work of the Task Force. 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, emphasised the significance of strengthening NCD response throughout and past COVID-19. He highlighted the affect of the pandemic on NCDs and psychological well being and that sturdy motion on NCDs have to be an integral a part of the COVID-19 response and restoration. The Director-General reminded contributors that he had not too long ago launched a joint WHO, UNDP and Task Force publication, Responding to NCDs throughout and past the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dr Tedros described WHO’s dedication to work with Task Force members to ascertain the NCD and Mental Health Multi-Partner Trust Fund. Once established, Dr Tedros stated that he could be calling on companions to mobilize extra sources past WHO’s funds to scale up assist to international locations for his or her response to NCDs.

“There’s no doubt that COVID-19 is a setback to our efforts to beat NCDs, but we cannot allow it to become an excuse for failing to deliver on our commitments. On contrary, we must use it as motivation to work all the harder!” Dr Tedros. 


Aksel Jacobsen, State Secretary of International Development for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, described Norway’s NCD Development Policy (2020-2024), which is able to assist low-income international locations of their efforts to handle NCDs. He underscored the excessive burden of NCD and COVID-19 comorbidity. The State Secretary referred to as upon international locations to make sure that NCD prevention, detection, and therapy is included of their COVID-19 response plans, highlighting the significance of political dedication to realize equality and fairness in entry to well being safety.

“The long-time global underinvestment in NCD prevention and control is part of the reason behind this tragic development.” Hon Jakobsen. 

Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health of Nigeria, thanked the Task Force for its mission to Nigeria earlier this 12 months, indicating that the mission’s suggestions have been accredited by the President, and an implementation unit to implement the suggestions has been established. 

Dr Jennifer Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the United Kingdom, spoke concerning the UK’s expertise in combating main NCD threat elements, in addition to weight problems, and the UK’s efforts to assist individuals to remain mentally effectively through the pandemic. Dr Harries emphasised the significance of multilateral approaches to handle NCDs, highlighting nationwide WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) funding instances that the UK has been supporting. 

“The UK would support further joint programming across multilaterals through the Multi-Partner Trust Fund to catalyse action on NCDs in low- and middle-income countries at such a critical time.” Dr Harries.  

Mr Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency described IAEA’s collaboration with WHO over a few years, particularly with regards the Human Health Programme to handle NCD challenges throughout a variety of medical points. Mr Grossi highlighted IAEA’s work in constructing capability for NCD and COVID-19 detection, which has concerned the supply of hundreds of well being professionals with sources on using radiology for prognosis and therapy.

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

Emanuela Del Re, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, shared the expertise of Italy in coping with NCDs although promotion of wholesome diets and meals high quality assurance.

“Healthy lifestyles and balanced diet not only prevent NCDs, but also have a positive impact on people’s general health, especially children in the first years of life.” Hon Del Re.  

Ahmed Mohammed Obaid Al Saidi, Minister of Health of the Sultanate of Oman, highlighted the elevated use of progressive digital expertise options for NCD care which emerged from the constraints imposed by COVID-19. 

“In Oman service pathways for these in search of NCD care have been rearranged to make sure security for sufferers and protected supply of providers and drugs. This had undoubtedly invited innovation and the introduction of latest measures that depend on expertise.” Hon Al Saidi.

Ms Jan Beagle, Director General of the International Development Law Organization, confused the significance of the rule of legislation and functioning of authorized and regulatory frameworks for sufficient and equitable NCD and COVID-19 look after all. 

“Now, more than ever, COVID-19 has exposed and is being aggravated by the entrenched injustices and equalities under which too many people still live and from which no nation can claim to be exempt.” Ms. Beagle.

Ms Katie Dain, Chief Executive Officer of the NCD Alliance welcomed the Task Force’s current consideration on NCD therapy and administration in addition to the event of the Multi-Partner Trust Fund. 

 “COVID-19 must be a wake-up call for governments and political leaders to value, prioritize, and invest in health, NCDs, and prevention. We simply won’t be prepared for the next pandemic, or any other health threat unless we really get to grips with the burden of NCDs.” Ms. Dain.

Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo, Head of Secretariat of the FCTC spoke concerning the menace posed by tobacco business within the context of COVID-19 and NCDs, and the important function that the WHO FCTC performs in directing nationwide and worldwide effort at decreasing international tobacco prevalence. Dr Blanco highlighted the pressing have to assist tobacco customers who wish to give up, pointing to sensitization of inhabitants about significance of well being that occurred as a result of COVID-19. 

Ms Lena Nanushyan, from the Ministry of Health in Armenia, highlighted the expertise of Armenia in working with the Task Force on growth and implementation of a nationwide NCD funding case. Ms Nanushyan underscored that the outcomes of the funding case had been used to argue for the adoption of a stricter tobacco management legislation earlier this 12 months.

Dr Douglas Webb, Cluster Leader, HIV Health and Development Group on the United Nations Development Programme,spoke concerning the alternative to handle NCDs via nationwide COVID-19 response and restoration plans, which more and more reveal synergies with NCD-related motion inside and past the well being sector. Dr Webb endorsed the Multi-Partner Trust Fund, noting the numerous funding hole in responding to NCDs. 

“The Multi-Partner Trust Fund is a critical technical tool to allow member states to advance on strengthening their NCD response.” Dr Webb.

Mr Yahya Alfasi, from the Gulf Health Council, knowledgeable the contributors concerning the ongoing work to develop NCD funding instances for six international locations throughout the area via the WHO-UNDP joint programme beneath the Task Force.

Mr William Twomey, from Johnson and Johnson, praised the Access Initiative for Quitting Tobacco (AIQT) to enhance international entry to tobacco cessation assist, stating that it was an important step to curbing the very excessive financial and social prices that tobacco imposes on our society.  

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