Tag Archives: NCD Alliance

New Report: Signalling Virtue, Promoting Harm

From the NDC Alliance: An important new report by NCD Alliance and Spectrum Research Consortium of preliminary findings and analysis of over 750 examples of how unhealthy commodity industries have been responding to the pandemic around the world. It has been published today to coincide with the Global Week for Action on NCDs, themed on accountability.

The report:¬†Signalling Virtue, Promoting Harm ‚Äď Unhealthy commodity industries and COVID-19¬†is now available to downloadable here:¬†https://ncdalliance.org/resources/signalling-virtue-promoting-harm.

Background: This crowdsourcing initiative began in response to demand from people Рincluding members of the WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs Рraising concerning examples of unhealthy commodity industry practices during the early phase of the pandemic.

These examples are of activities undertaken or presented by businesses as a response to the COVID-19 crisis ‚Äď including corporate social responsibility initiatives, philanthropy, new marketing campaigns, and engagement in policy development and debates.

The report focuses on unhealthy commodity industries identified by respondents to the survey – tobacco, alcohol, ultra-processed food, sugar sweetened beverages, breast-milk substitutes, fossil fuels, and gambling.

The report is organised around four broad categories of strategic responses evident in multiple countries and across diverse industries, and references almost 200 examples based on the submissions received.

The four chapters are:

  • Adapting marketing and promotions, increasing availability
  • Corporate social responsibility and philanthropy
  • Pursuing partnerships, coveting collaboration
  • Shaping policy environments

Watch this space: This report is necessarily very preliminary Рgiven the tight timescales involved we couldn’t fit all of the examples received into the report, and more analysis is to come. These unhealthy commodity industries are so actively undertaking to infiltrate daily lives and influence policy. With policy responses to the pandemic evolving so rapidly, we felt it important to make this early analysis public to document these activities and illuminate the need for stronger protections for NCD prevention policy today and as part of COVID-19 responses and recovery plans. We are working hard to update the interactive map, and further outputs are also intended, keep an eye out for these to be developed.

Please keep monitoring and contributing: This report may inspire you to continue monitoring these industries and holding them to account, so the researchers invite you to share new examples or developments on previous examples shared via this form: https://bit.ly/NCDA_SPECTRUM_MAPPING_TOOL

Tell the world: If you would like to share the report on social media, a sample message for inspiration is below (together with an image attached if you would like to use it):

Report by @SPECTRUMRes & @ncdalliance details examples of unhealthy commodity industries -like #alcohol, #tobacco, ultra-processed food & drink, are leveraging the #COVID19 #pandemic while their products contribute to #NCDs. Read more: https://ncdalliance.org/resources/signalling-virtue-promoting-harm #ActOnNCDs

Accountability¬†Workstream Webinar on 18 September: Lucy Westerman,¬†from the NCDA team¬†and¬†report co-author, will be presenting on the¬†report¬†during next week‚Äôs CS WG Accountability Workstream webinar in 18th September.¬†Please join to hear from Lucy and others discussing industry interference and¬†conflict¬†of¬†interest¬†both in and out of the context of the¬†pandemic, and for the launch of the¬†during which the joint CS WG¬†statement¬†“Protecting the¬†development and implementation of public health policies from undue influence of¬†unhealthy commodity industries‚ÄĚ.¬†Details and register here:¬†http://bit.ly/whocswg1

We hope you find the report Signalling Virtue, Promoting Harm enlightening and useful for your advocacy.


HLPF Statement to WHO: WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs

The 36 members of the WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs (Non Communicable Diseases) commend the World Health Organization and Dr Tedros for his leadership as the world grapples with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. An empowered, well-resourced WHO is essential to lead governments, other stakeholders, and people through these trying times.

HLPF Statement to Member States
WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs

Published 12 July 2020
Author: WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCD’s
Download document or read the full statement here:

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed health system gaps and vulnerabilities across the world and has demonstrated more than ever the need for resilient health systems, especially ones that are equipped to respond to the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental disorders.

As budgets are reallocated and ministry of health staff are reassigned to respond to the crisis, attention to NCDs and other chronic conditions (including prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care) has largely fallen off the radar – in particular for hypertension and cardiovascular emergencies, cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases, obesity, mental disorders and neurological health conditions including dementia.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, people of all ages, who are living with NCDs, are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill and/or dying from COVID-19 or from a lack of health care service delivery for their untreated NCDs. It is therefore crucial that we ‚Äúbuild back better‚ÄĚ health systems and minimize disruptions to lifesaving prevention, diagnosis and care for those living with NCDs.

We call on Member States to:

  • Ensure NCDs prevention, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care are included in national emergency response and preparedness plans, beginning with inclusion of NCDs in national COVID-19 response plans in the context of universal health coverage and sustainable development.
  • Acknowledge the interconnections between global health security, COVID-19 complications and chronic conditions like NCDs and address these by developing, and scaling-up the implementation of robust national NCD action plans to protect and strengthen population health. These should prioritize the WHO ‚ÄėBest Buys and other recommended interventions‚Äô and other relevant conventions and plans such as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity, the WHO Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol, the WHO Global Action Plan on the public health response to dementia, the WHO Mental Health Action Plan and forthcoming recommendations to address mental health conditions and air pollution.
  • Strengthen national resilience to build back better by ensuring support for dedicated health promotion and prevention institutions, ensuring that COVID-19 policy responses do not inadvertently increase exposure to key NCD risk factors and the burden of NCDs in the long-term,¬† and strengthening workforce competency in health promotion and NCD prevention and control.
  • Allocate sufficient and sustainable financing to enable health promotion and NCD prevention and control programmes and policies to be fully implemented to scale.
  • Raise tobacco taxes and implement taxes on other unhealthy commodities like alcohol and ultra-processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages to simultaneously improve the health of the populace, reduce health inequities, and lessen the burden on health systems. These taxes can also raise much-needed revenue to help finance health, socio-economic, development and/or pandemic response efforts.
  • Continue and sustain the delivery of routine chronic care, supplies of essential medicines, vaccines and technologies, screening and diagnosis, access to resources, and supportive and palliative services for ongoing management of NCDs, mental health, and other chronic conditions.
  • Develop guidelines at national and global levels specifically for People Living with NCDs to successfully manage their conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adopt innovative approaches, including digital health solutions, to enhance efficiency within health systems.
  • Ensure healthcare workers are recruited, trained, protected, and well-resourced to meet the current and future demand for chronic care and the COVID-19 pandemic and that healthcare research is properly funded, to support the development of innovative, evidence-based approaches to NCDs prevention and treatment in the setting of COVID-19 pandemic.¬†Special attention is¬†also¬†needed to ensure the mental health and well-being of healthcare workers is supported and action is taken to prevent and control violence against health workers.
  • Systematically and meaningfully engage civil society groups and vulnerable groups (including people living with NCDs and other comorbidities, older people, and young people) in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of international, national, and local COVID-19 responses.
  • Adopt a whole-of-government approach to COVID-19 to ensure the adoption of robust, evidence-based policies and plans, which do not expose governments to real or perceived conflicts of interest (such as through corporate social responsibility activities by unhealthy commodity industries) and which ensure access to safe, affordable and equitable access to essential health products (such as PPE, essential medicines including controlled medicines for palliative care) as part of a global response.

The WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs and the NCD community remains committed to elevating the voices of civil society and people living with NCDs and supporting WHO and governments during this pandemic and in the post-pandemic recovery period.

Members of the WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs

  1. Dr Monika Arora, Healthy India Alliance, India
  2. Ms Kwanele Asante, Our Views, Our Voices global advisory committee, South Africa
  3. Prof Naby Baldé, International Diabetes Federation, Guinea
  4. Mr Stephane Besançon, Santé Diabète, France
  5. Mr Enzo Bondioni, World Dental Federation, Switzerland
  6. Ms Chantelle Booysen, Youth Leaders for the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development, South Africa
  7. Dr Beatriz Champagne, Healthy Latin America Coalition, Argentina
  8. Dr Stephen Connor, World Palliative Care Alliance, USA
  9. Ms Katie Dain, CEO, NCD Alliance (Co-Chair)
  10. Dr Mitra Rouhi Dehkordi, The Association for International Sports for All, Iran
  11. Dr Ulysses Dorotheo, South East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines
  12. Dr Ibtihal Fadhil, EMRO NCD Alliance, Iraq
  13. Dr Mychelle Farmer, NCD Child, USA
  14. Mr Juan N√ļ√Īez Guadarrama, Salud Justa, Mexico
  15. Sir Trevor Hassell, Healthy Caribbean Coalition, Barbados
  16. Mr David Kalema, Hope and Beyond, Uganda
  17. Mr Chris Lynch, Alzheimer’s Disease International, United Kingdom
  18. Princess Dina Mired, Union for International Cancer Control, Jordan
  19. Dr Mwai Makoka, World Council of Churches, Malawi
  20. Ms Narcisa Mashienta, Ikiama Nukuri, Ecuador
  21. Dr George Msengi, NCD Child, Tanzania
  22. Mr Christophe Ngendahayo, International Federation of Medical Students Associations, Rwanda
  23. Ms Leslie Rae, Framework Convention Alliance, Canada
  24. Ms Johanna Ralston, World Obesity Federation, USA
  25. Ms Belen R√≠os, O¬īNeill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, USA
  26. Prof Trevor Shilton, International Union for Health Promotion and Education, and International Society for Physical Activity and Health, Australia
  27. Dr Sudhvir Singh, EAT Foundation, Norway
  28. Dr Tara Singh Bam, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Nepal
  29. Ms Anjali Singla, Movement for Global Mental Health, India
  30. Ms Kristina Sperkova, Movendi International, Slovakia
  31. Ms Charlene Sunkel, Global Mental Health Peer Network, South Africa
  32. Ms Kate Swaffer, Dementia Alliance International, Australia
  33. Ms Phaeba Thomas, HealthBridge South Asia, India
  34. Dr Nick Watts, Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, United Kingdom
  35. Prof Gerald Yonga, East Africa NCD Alliance, Kenya
  36. Dr Yoshitake Yokokura, World Medical Association, Japan

One day until the 71st World Health Assembly

The 71st session of the World Health Assembly officially opens on Monday 21 May. Although the official agenda does not begin until Monday, the action starts days before.

DAI is working more closely with the NCD Alliance and many other organisations, now also including the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), and we will be joining the NCD Alliance #ENOUGH Campaigns this week, and the many activites of the WHPCA. As dementia is a non communicable disease (NCD), and we have ahuman right to appropriate palliative care, these are important for us all.

Here are two of the #NCD Alliance campaign messages:

ENOUGH:  Time to translate commitments to action for NCDs. At #WHA71 we must put people 1st, make #NCDs an investment priority backed up with evidence-based policies, protect children from obesity and give all #PLWNCDs access to treatment #enoughNCDs #beatNCDs
Calling all leaders at #WHA71. We have had ENOUGH. We want and need you to commit to putting people first by involving #PLWNCDs in the decision making process. Our health is our right, and all people need action to protect it right now! #enoughNCDs #beatNCDs #NCDvoices

Below is a list of some of the meetings DAI is attending and the many interesting side-events throughout the week:

  • 20/5 – 10:30 amWalk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge –¬†walk or run – led by WHO
  • 20/5 – 18:00 – 19:30 pm –¬†Panel discussion on Saving Lives, Spending Less: A Strategic Response to Noncommunicable Diseases
  • 21/5 – 9:00 am – Opening of the World Health Assembly
  • 21/5¬†–¬†10:30 – 11 am¬†–¬†NCD Alliance meeting
  • 21/5 – 2:30 & 4:00 pm – Meetings with the WHO
  • 21/5 – 18:00 – 19:45¬†– NCD Alliance Side Event:¬†ENOUGH. Making 2018 the year for action and accountability on NCDs
  • 22/5 –¬†17.00-19.00¬†–¬†Global Rehabilitation Alliance Meeting
  • 22/5 – 18:00 pm –¬†Taking Civil Society Engagement to New Heights
  • 23/5 –¬†8am – 11am¬†–¬†WHO¬†Civil¬†Society Working Group on the third High-level¬†Meeting¬†of the UN General Assembly on NCDs
  • 23/5 – 16:30 pm¬†–¬†From the Ground Up: NCDs, TB and Resilient Health Systems
  • 23/5¬†–¬†19:00-19:50¬†–¬†ADI Side Event: Mobilising Society: Inspiration for developing national responses to dementia
  • 24/5 – 7:30 am –¬†Changing the Story: Creating a New Obesity Narrative
  • 24/5 – 12:30 pm –¬†Reducing Sugar, Salt and Fat to Prevent NCDs: Bold Initiatives and Success Stories
  • 24/5 – 16:30 pm –¬†Human Rights in Global Health
  • 24/5 – 8 -10 am¬†–¬†Global Health Council, Living Goods, IntraHealth International, Frontline Health Workers Coalition – Diverse Pathways and Partnerships to Universal Health Coverage

Other involvement including times and days to be advised in our role working with ¬†Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, ¬†are based on their goal to “To build increased commitment for an essential package of palliative care as part of UHC amongst WHO and member states”.¬†

I’ll do my best to keep DAI members and supporters updated each day, as the Assembly progresses and outcomes from the many meetings and Side Events I am involved in take place.

Kate Swaffer, DAI Chair, CEO & Co-founder

WHO announces Civil Society Working Group

The World Health Organization (WHO) has this week announced the members of the Civil Society Working Group on the third UN HLM on NCDs, comprised of 26 civil society representatives and co-chaired by WHO ADG Dr Svetlana Akselrod and NCDA CEO Katie Dain.  DAI congratulates to Katie Dain, the CEO of the NCD Alliance in her role as co-chair.

WHO Civil Society Working Group on the third High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on NCDs

In October 2017, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), announced the establishment of a civil society Working Group for the third High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on NCDs in 2018.

The Working Group’s aim is to advise the Director-General on bold and practical recommendations on mobilizing civil society in a meaningful manner to advocate for a highly successful high-level meeting, one which proves to be a tipping point for the NCD and mental health response.

The Working Group will be co-chaired by Katie Dain, CEO, NCD Alliance (NGO), and Svetlana Axelrod, Assistant Director-General for NCDs and Mental Health, WHO. The WHO GCM/NCD Secretariat will act as Secretariat for the Working Group.

NCDs kill 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 each year. NCDs particularly affect low- and lower-middle income countries, where almost 50% of premature deaths from these conditions occur.

In 2015, world leaders committed to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Recent WHO reports indicate that the world will struggle to meet that target based on the current rate of change and action.”

The Working Group‚Äôs aim is to advise the WHO Director-General on practical but also recommendations that include ‘thinking outside of the box’ on mobilising civil society in a meaningful manner to advocate for a successful high-level meeting in New York.

It is pleasing that DAI has been invited to join this committee, and  is being involved in this work, and we thank the WHO for this invitation, and therefore the acknowledgement of our important work.