UNITED NATIONS: Reaffirming its commitment to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart ailments, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes, Pakistan has urged world’s leading pharmaceutical companies to fulfil their corporate social responsibility by offering medicines at affordable prices in developing countries.
“Non-communicable diseases represent one of the world’s most serious health challenges,” Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the U.N., told the General Assembly, which on Thursday carried out a high-level review of progress made in preventing and controlling those diseases, which claims the lives of 36 million people each year.
He said non-communicable diseases caused suffering in both developed and developing countries, traumatizing families and stunting economic growth.
“Effective global partnerships and provision of credible means of implementation are indispensable to the success in prevention and control of NCDs,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“Governments have to be in the driving seat to respond to the challenge of NCDs and to commit themselves to develop national plans to prevent and control NCDs.”
Masood Khan told the 193-member Assembly that Pakistan had made strategic interventions in such areas as governance, infrastructure, generation of resources through taxes, and surveillance based on World Health Organization’s framework.
Its health-care programme took a cost-effective approach, with emphasis on early detection and improved access to medicine and technology. Pakistan, he said, was pursuing a comprehensive health plan in cooperation with the private sector. High level political commitment and involvement of communities and health care providers were creating awareness and prevention of NCDs, and existing health facilities were being mapped to assess their capacity.
At the end of the day-long review, UN member states pledged to intensify efforts towards a world free of the avoidable burden of non-communicable diseases.
By the terms of a wide-ranging draft resolution ” the meeting’s outcome document” Governments committed to addressing non-communicable diseases as a matter of priority in national development plans, for which they agreed to consider setting national targets for 2025, by 2015, and by 2016, to reduce risk factors and underlying social determinants for those diseases.
They aimed, by 2016, to strengthen and orient health systems to address prevention and control issues through people-centred primary health care and universal health coverage.
Further to the text, member states were urged to take steps for that purpose, including effective legislation, mainstreaming non-communicable disease in development schemes, and, among others, measure and track economic, social, and environmental determinants and disparities in health.