Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All
Nov 02, 2017

No ‘business as usual’ against non-communicable diseases

No ‘business as usual’ against non-communicable diseases

Basel, 2 November 2017. This year's MMS Symposium will address the challenges of tackling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by looking at the determinants of NCDs, the organisation of health care and the role of civil societies. A “business-as-usual” approach won’t suffice. NCDs kill 40 million people each year. NCDs are currently responsible for almost 70% of global deaths.

Each year non-communicable diseases such as cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and cancer kill over 40 million people around the world – with over 80% of victims in developing and emerging countries. The vast majority of these fatalities are avoidable. In order to understand the root causes of this global epidemic, it is imperative to scrutinise the role of the internationally operating food, drink and tobacco industries. To counter these disease-causing factors on a global scale, action by international politics is required. And: to help people who are affected in poor countries, healthcare systems must be ready to cope with this epidemic.   

Non-communicable, chronic diseases pose a huge challenge to national healthcare systems as well as international health politics. The following factors drive their spread and hamper their control:

  • changes in consumer behaviour driven by globalised trade
  • the flooding of markets with unhealthy food, drink and other products
  • unplanned urbanisation
  • healthcare centres insufficiently prepared to deal with non-communicable diseases
  • insufficient access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment

The international community and national governments alike must act. Millions of people can be prevented from having to live with or die from a non-communicable disease via the successful implementation of the goals of the UN Agenda 2030 (SDGs) or the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Action Plan.

An important milestone in the fight against non-communicable diseases will be reached in 2018 with the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs: the MMS Symposium offers an excellent opportunity to establish the fundamentalsfor a Swiss position statement.

Lectures, Workshops and Debates

At the MMS Symposium experts and practitioners from the international healthcare community will discuss the following key issues:

  • The causes of the global NCD epidemic and strategies taken by Switzerland and the international community to combat them.
  • Ways to prepare healthcare providers in emerging and developing countries for the challenges of non-communicable diseases

Keynote speaker Alejandro Calvillo Unna, Mexico

He received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and has carried out doctoral studies in Philosophy at the Universidad de Barcelona (pending degree). Alejandro was a founding member of Greenpeace Mexico before founding the consumer rights organization El Poder del Consumidor in 2006, where he serves as the current director. With El Poder del Consumidor, Alejandro has been a central actor from the civil society to obtain a soda tax in Mexico.

Other speakers

  • Nora Kronig Romero, head of international affairs division, FOPH
  • Manfred Zahorka, head of sexual and reproductive health unit, Swiss TPH
  • As well as representatives from civil society, research, politics and SDC.

The symposium is part of a long-term cooperation agreement with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC.

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