WHA70 Side Event “The Role of the Next Generation in Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases”

WHA70 Side Event “The Role of the Next Generation in Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases”

The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA) put pharmacists front and centre at the 70th World Health Assembly held at the United Nations in Geneva Switzerland.

WHA70 Side Event "The Role of the Next Generation in Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases"

In her call to action at the WHA70 side event, CPA adviser Oksana Pyzik reminded youth delegates that the social injustice of NCDs is theirs to inherit and thus youth action imperative to beat NCDs.

On 26th May 2017 The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association put pharmacists front and centre at the 70th World Health Assembly held at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, where CPA co-hosted the WHA70 side event “The Role of the Next Generation in Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases” alongside partners Plan International, Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network, Commonwealth Youth Health Network, Commonwealth Sport for Development and Peace Youth Division and the International Federation of Medical Students’ and Associations.

The Commonwealth makes up 1/3rd  of the world’s population and CPA President, Raymond Anderson, and CPA Adviser on Global Health, Oksana Pryzik, represented pharmacists across 52 countries, advocating for pharmacists’ roles in prevention and management of non-communicable diseases. Raymond Anderson urged current pharmacy leaders to create opportunities for youth in working to achieve this.

In her opening address to WHA delegates, health ministers, government representatives and youth organisations, Oksana made a powerful statement on behalf of CPA to youth. “The message from CPA: We support you, we believe in you and we will empower you to make a meaningful impact against the rise of NCDs. You are not future leaders you are leaders” was echoed by partners Plan International, Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network, Commonwealth Youth Health Network, Commonwealth Sport for Development and PeaceYouth Division and the International Federation of Medical Students’ and Associations.

Watch CPA Adviser Ms Oksana Pyzik deliver the opening address on behalf of pharmacists across 52 different countries to health ministers, youth organisations and government representatives.

Read full transcript below:

Thank you Elvis for the kind introduction and thank you to all of the panellists and organizers of this side event: The Role of the Next Generation Addressing NCDs.

It is an honour to be here at the United Nations for the 70th World Health Assembly and to represent Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA). The CPA is a partner and co-host of the side event along side the Commonwealth Youth Health Network, and the Commonwealth and Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development.

The Commonwealth makes up 1/3rd of the global population and encompasses some of the world’s poorest nations. The CPA works to advance health, wellbeing and education for the benefit of all people, and we strive to achieve this through the Commonwealth networks and communities. As such we, the CPA, are fully committed to, in collaboration with partners, to take coordinated action in reducing the global burden of NCDs. Of the 53 million annual deaths worldwide caused by non-communicable diseases, more than ¾ of these are in low and middle income countries. Thus, NCDs are not diseases just of affluence but of poverty and socio-economic deprivation. While the NCDs epidemic may originate from prosperous societies, the evidence is clear that it disproportionately affects people in deprived and poor settings.

There are some common misconceptions about NCDs that I think are important to address. First, NCDs are not diseases confined just to the old. Over half of the deaths worldwide due to a chronic non-communicable diseases occur in people who are in the prime of their working years, and thus, the consequent disabilities and lives lost are a threat to the very sustainability of our societies.

Dr Margaret Chan in her opening address referred to childhood obesity as the “most visible, and arguably the most tragic, expression of the forces that are driving the rise of NCDs.” Of these driving forces, the most profound is inequality – NCDs are linked with and reinforce poverty and exploitation, and thus the rising epidemic of NCDs is a gross social injustice

NCDs affect youth. Young people are often believed to be healthy however, 1/3rd of young people globally are prescribed medications for long term chronic conditions, and this number is growing e.g. asthma, depression, juvenile diabetes, juvenile arthritis. As highlighted by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), earlier this week, “the use of medicines remains the most frequent healthcare intervention.” We know that health promotion and prevention are of vital importance to #beatNCDs however, effective medicines management is equally important to extend and improve the quality of life of our patients.

Thus, pharmacists as the experts in medicines have a key role to play in promoting medicines adherence and non-communicable disease management and must work more closely with other healthcare practitioners to achieve this. Not only healthcare practitioners but across all sectors of society and all ages. I was very pleased with initial discussions at yesterday’s roundtable event on youth led NCD initiatives, and impressed by the achievements and passion of youth organizations, and the very real impact they are making.

Despite dwindling resources directed towards youth enablement, there was much energy driving the new NCD partnerships and collaborations led by youth. Ban Ki Moon said “Young people are often the most untapped resource when it comes to dealing with issues related to sustainable development.” He is right. We must do more, to work productively with young medical and allied health students and other youth networks. We must promote their voice, give opportunity for leadership and collaborate via an intergenerational approach fostering mentorship.

The message from CPA: We support you, we believe in you and we will empower you to make a meaningful impact against the rise of NCDs. You are not future leaders you are leaders.

We are here today because of your great work and I am very pleased to introduce Marie Hauerslev from the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations to share a few highlights on their work on NCDs before we move into the panel discussion.

Meet the full panel

The 70th World Health Assembly Panel on NCDs and Youth:

Liam Sollis, Policy and Advocacy Manage Young Health Programme
Elvis Eze, The Commonwealth Assistant Health Officer Health and Education Unit
Oksana Pyzik, Commonwealth Pharmacists’ Association Adviser
Raymond Anderson Commonwealth Pharmacists’ Association President  Lucy Fagan Commonwealth Youth Health Network Coordinator
Tikwiza Silubonde who is the Assistant Programme Officer, Sport for Development and Peace Youth Division
Skandar Essafi, IFMSA Liaison officer for public health issues
Marie Hauerslev, IFMSA Vice President External Relations
Waruguru Wanjau Commonwealth Youth Health Network
Jordan Jarvis Executive, Director of the Young Professional Chronic Disease Network
Ishu Kataria, Research Public Health Analyst at RTI International