Building capacity to address NCDs

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Today's guest blog comes from Lilly's Vice President of Global Health Programs and Access, Dr. Evan Lee. 

It is a busy week in Geneva with a multitude of delegates and other groups gathered for the 66th World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization. Among the many issues on the agenda, attendees will be reviewing proposed global targets to reduce rates of leading non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as an action plan for mental health. Targets are a great way to encourage countries to step up efforts against diseases that badly strain health care systems and hamper economic development. With NCDs claiming 35 million lives each year, we should certainly be driving our work with a sense of urgency and purpose.

In order to hit any targets in developing countries, practically speaking, we need to build capacity for effective, data-driven NCD prevention and control programs. This is a focus of our work with local partners in India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil through the Lilly NCD Partnership.

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In addition to the core work of our partnership efforts at the patient level, Lilly is driving and partnering to convene stakeholder organizations to share learning, propel thinking, and strengthen collaboration. In June, Lilly will co-convene the India Diabetes Policy Summit to be held in New Delhi. The summit will engage an array of stakeholders at national and state levels on the critical challenges that must be addressed to meet the significant and growing burden of diabetes.

We are also looking forward to the Lilly NCD Partnership Summit to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in July. This summit is a unique example of how Lilly is fostering North-South and South-South interactions. Our partners from India, South Africa, Mexico, and Brazil will come together to provide updates on their work within the Lilly NCD Partnership, provide input to the efforts of others, network, and interact with global health leaders. The lessons we are learning from these pilot models will inform cost-effective solutions to diabetes care that can be replicated and scaled up in developing countries around the world.

Lilly commends the World Health Assembly interactions and at the same time urges a thoughtful balance of engagement and action. Now, more than ever, individuals, communities, and governments need smart, well-designed interventions that are expertly implemented. With a limited and possibly diminishing pool of resources we all must operate in thoughtful, collaborative, and well-informed ways so to make progress to and eventually achieve the goals that are set.

We’re grateful to our partners for the opportunity to collaborate on the Lilly NCD Partnership projects, which will contribute to improving care for people with diabetes around the world – and help achieve the World Health Organization’s global targets for the prevention and control of NCDs.