At the end of June, the Global Health Council NCD Roundtable sent a letter to President Obama, encouraging him to take a leadership role in the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which cause two out of three deaths worldwide. Arogya World is proud to be one of the signatories to the letter, along with 92 other organizations, representing NGOs, academia and the private sector, all joining forces and asking the President to attend the UN high level meeting on NCDs in New York this September.
We believe that President Obama’s attendance and endorsement of the summit will send a clear and strong message to leaders around the world that NCDs are an urgent crisis that threaten not only health but also global economic development. As the letter states: “NCDs, namely diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and lung disease, are significant public health challenges, causing 63 percent of all deaths globally, 80 percent of which occur in developing countries… The World Economic Forum estimates a 10-year cost of nearly one trillion dollars from these four illnesses alone.”
By attending the UN Summit, President Obama has the opportunity to “demonstrate commitment to improving health around the world and support countries as they build sustainable health systems, while acknowledging the important link between poverty and NCDs.” With Lets Move! and other efforts to tackle obesity and improve healthy living domestically, the US government is laudably committed to NCDs; now it just needs to demonstrate that it is equally committed to fighting these serious diseases globally. Getting Barack Obama to attend the UN Summit on NCDs is one sure way of signaling that.