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Richard Smith: Non-communicable disease in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

12 Sep, 12 | by BMJ

Richard SmithThe Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) of WHO has some of the highest rates of non-communicable disease (NCD) in the world. Six of the countries with the highest rates of diabetes are in the region, half of the women are overweight or obese, and physical activity rates are the lowest in the world. Yet the region also has advantages, including the former director of NCD at the WHO Headquarters, Ala Alwan, now being the director of the region, and the presence of some very rich countries. A conference in Riyadh last week began the process of preparing an action plan to counter NCD in the region. more…

Richard Smith: What I learnt about non-communicable disease in one afternoon

27 Jun, 12 | by BMJ

Richard SmithMost of my work is concerned with non-communicable disease (NCD) in low and middle income countries, so I’ve got to know a fair bit about the subject. But yesterday I spent an afternoon at Imperial College listening to a series of short presentations on NCD in low middle income countries (LMIC), and I learnt a lot. I thought that you might be interested in what I learnt, and I’ve found it best to summarise my learning in a series of short statements (some of which I’ve Tweeted). more…

Amanda Glassman on the difficult task of setting priorities at the WHO

17 May, 12 | by BMJ Group

As country delegations prepare for the 65th session of the World Health Assembly next week, the reform of the institution itself is only one topic on a list of 20 agenda items and 52 sub-items to be considered by the organisation’s governing bodies.

Setting priorities and fully funding those priorities has been a challenge for the organization; WHO currently runs 213 projects directed by eight organisational divisions and 15 regional and special offices.  In the context of limited resources with no explicit criteria to prioritize budgetary allocations, and no checks on new resolutions and declarations, underfunded and inadequately staffed “priorities” have multiplied, leading to a widening gap between the organization’s aspirational rhetoric and its capacity to deliver concrete results. more…

Deborah Cohen on Nestlé and the International Diabetes Federation: comfortable bedfellows?

14 May, 12 | by BMJ Group

Deborah Cohen Nestlé has just announced a three year partnership with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF)—an umbrella organisation representing national diabetes societies from around the world— as part of its contribution to the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Such diseases include cardiovascular disease, cancer respiratory illness and diabetes.  more…

Richard Smith: A diary of the UN meeting

20 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithMonday 19 September. Day one

7.10 I arrive at the junction of 47 Street East and 2nd Avenue to meet the Pepsico people who are holding a breakfast meeting in the UN dining room. I meet several cronies that I haven’t seen for a long while and reflect traitorously that global health is maybe like medical ethics or medical history, places where ageing health figures go before they disappear altogether. more…

Richard Smith: A diary of the UN meeting on NCDs

19 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithSaturday 17 September. Day minus two

17.20 Arrive in New York. A bigger queue than ever at immigration. Do they really want visitors?
After an hour I reach the booth.
“When were you in Pakistan?”
“Just over a year ago.”
“What do you do?”
“I run a programme in developing countries working on heart disease and diabetes.”
“Is Pakistan a developing country?” more…

Rebecca Coombes: UN summit in New York – a view from the sidelines

19 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

What’s the mood among delegates on the eve of the UN summit on non-communicable diseases as they gather in hotel bars and the confusion of side events in New York City?

Well, earlier in the day I went on a hike through Central Park with about 50 others in an event organised by the NCD Alliance to publicise that 300 million people are now caught up in the global diabetes epidemic. We waved helium balloons and cars honked in support from 5th Avenue. My walking partner was Allison Schauwecker, a graduate of international relations now working for a company which makes a weekly television show on US cable television for diabetic patients. It pulls in millions of viewers every week. Allison, diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 25, carried a small bag of sweets “in case I go low.”  more…

Deborah Cohen: The final declaration for the UN summit on NCDs

9 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Deborah Cohen After months of negotiations, lobbying from industry and NGOs and public health experts, international governments have finally agreed the political declaration that will form the spine of the UN’s summit on non-communicable diseases later this month.

The BMJ has seen a copy of the final declaration and for those who have been involved there are some highlights, lowlights and one or two surprises. more…

Richard Smith: UN meeting on non-communicable diseases goes wobbly

10 Aug, 11 | by BMJ Group

Richard SmithThings are not going well with the UN high level meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that will take place in New York in a month’s time. The aim was to have completed negotiations on the outcomes document before the UN closed for its summer break, but this wasn’t achieved.

The member states causing the most difficulties are the European Union, which is negotiating as a block led by Poland, and the United States, with Canada and the Russian Federation also being unhelpful. With stock markets crashing and the Euro looking very vulnerable, it’s easy to see why resources are one of the sticking points. It seems unlikely to me that rich countries will sign up to any serious commitment to funding. They might sign a document that says something like “continue to explore the possibility of…..,” in other words, no commitment at all. more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: Institute of Medicine’s workshop on country level decision making for NCDs

10 Aug, 11 | by BMJ Group

Tracey KoehlmoosIn a previous blog I mentioned that I attended the Institute of Medicine’s workshop on country level decision making for control of chronic diseases, which was held on 19-21 July at the House of Sweden in Washington, DC.  However, I had promised more details of the meeting and then promptly disappeared for two weeks of vacation (which I will tell you about if you read to the end). more…

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