Statement on Political Declaration on NCDs

For over 60 years, FIGO has collaborated with the world's top health bodies to work towards the improvement of women's health globally.

FIGO is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), and attending the 144th WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, 24 - 30th January, 2019.

This week we shared our statement on the Director-General's report on Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable DiseasesFollow-up to the high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues:

The commitment of WHO to follow up on the 2018 Political Declaration on NCDs through supporting governments to accelerate response and progress towards SDG 3.4 is to be applauded.

FIGO welcomes WHO’s flagship programmes focusing on air pollution, effective taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages and cervical cancer elimination, and engagement with relevant industry sectors, but assert that improvement in lifestyle factors is no substitution for a healthy start in life.

We are disappointed to see that, while your report mentions a ‘whole-of-society approach’, it fails to integrate maternal and child health services with NCD prevention, which had been included in the WHO’s 2011 Declaration. A missed opportunity with long-term implications for the growing global NCD pandemic.

Pregnancy offers a unique opportunity to integrate maternal and child health services with health promotion and NCD prevention thereby providing a bridge to create more integrated services at the primary care level.

Maternal and child health is inextricably linked with NCDs and their risk factors. Prenatal malnutrition and low birth weight create a predisposition to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes later in life. Pregnancy conditions, such as maternal obesity and gestational diabetes, are associated with similar risks in both the mother and her offspring. Any efforts on NCD prevention and control must therefore begin with and substantially focus on preconception and maternal health.

FIGO proposes that integration of maternal and child health with NCD prevention is central to “bold and practical recommendations on how to transform new opportunities to enable countries to accelerate progress towards SDG 3.4” as sought by the High-level Commission on NCDs, and as evidenced in FIGO’s Global Declaration on Hyperglycemia in Pregnancy, publicly launched during last year’s FIGO World Congress in Rio.

We must build a sustainable future health for generations who are not yet born, but are already at risk. FIGO, and our 132 member countries, support efforts to build multi-stakeholder collaborations and the collation and dissemination of current evidence.

As it stands, no single country will meet their reduction target in mortality from NCDs by 2030. FIGO remains available to support WHO in “Scaling up multi-stakeholder and multi-sectorial responses for the prevention and control of NCDs in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

We resolve to address this challenge and to convert it into an opportunity for improved health outcome for mothers and their newly born babies, to stem the rising curve of NCDs and improve future population health.