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Innovation, Partnerships, Political Will Critical To Addressing Global NCDs

Project Syndicate: Confronting the Next Global Health Challenge
Jörg Reinhardt, chair of the Novartis Board of Directors

“…[W]hile mortality rates from infectious diseases are declining, developed countries’ sedentary lifestyles, tobacco use, and poor diets are catching on in the developing world, and [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)] such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are increasing at an alarming rate. … Fortunately, we can apply lessons from the successful fight against infectious diseases to the emerging fight against NCDs. … For starters, we need innovation. … Beyond innovation, we need strong partnerships to manage NCDs and ensure that patients have access to the treatment they need. … A third lesson … is that political commitment is crucial. … Leaders from around the world must prioritize the global fight against NCDs. To this end, governments and global health agencies should apply lessons learned from the successful fight against infectious diseases. Through innovation, dynamic partnerships to strengthen health systems, and political will, the world can sustain the gains made against infectious disease, while also effectively combating NCDs” (12/13).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.