Targets on NCDs should tackle physical activity, says WHPA

The World Health Professions Alliance, of which WCPT is a member, has urged the World Health Organization to take a person-centred approach to public health when considering targets and monitoring for non-communicable diseases.

The call comes in the wake of the UN high level meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in September, which resulted in a declaration and new targets to combat non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes and lung disease before the end of 2012. 

The World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA) is concerned that the targets set at the meeting were limited to specific conditions. It believes that that the spread of non-communicable diseases can only be challenged globally by emphasising effective health care as a human right. Addressing human activity levels should also be a priority, it says.

Julia Seyer from the World Medical Association presented the WHPA strategy at the WHO Executive Board meeting in Geneva in January. 

“We ask for an approach that addresses the link between NCDs and the social determinants of health, with a focus on prevention, and on factors that influence behaviour and associated health risks,” she said.

WHPA wants to ensure that the risk factors that contribute to NCDs are addressed in national strategies. “We encourage WHO and member states to consider targets which address physical activity levels for children and adults, education and training on NCDs and oral health,” said Julia Seyer.

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), on behalf of the WHPA, also made representations to WHO regarding the WHPA campaign against counterfeit medicines and medical equipment. It recommended a new public health treaty agreed among member states on combating substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products, on the model of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.