Takunda Maodza News Editor—
PRESIDENT Mugabe left Harare yesterday for Uruguay where he will join other Heads of State and Government attending the World Health Organisation (WHO) conference on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). He was seen off at Harare International Airport by Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa, Phelekezela Mphoko, Minister of State for Harare Miriam Chikukwa, Cabinet Ministers Simon Khaya-Moyo, Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Joram Gumbo, Kembo Mohadi, service chiefs and senior Government officials. VP Mnangagwa is Acting President.
The conference is running under the theme “Enhancing policy coherence between different spheres of policy making that have a bearing on attaining Strategic Development Goal target 3.4 on NCD by 2030”. SDG 3.4 by 2030 seeks to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one-third through prevention and treatment and promoting mental health and well-being.
The conference seeks to provide guidance to member states on how to reach SDG target 3.4 by 2030 by influencing public policies in sectors beyond health and enhancing policy coherence. It also seeks to launch a set of new global initiatives to help countries accelerate progress in reducing premature mortality from NCDs and to fast-track efforts to attain SDG target 3.4.
The meeting will also see delegates exchanging national experiences in enhancing policy coherence to attain the voluntary global NCD targets for 2025. The conference will also highlight the health sector as the key advocate for enhancing coherence for the attainment of SDG target 3.4. Also expected to attend the conference are Ministers of health, agriculture, development cooperation, finance and foreign Affairs. The United Nations organisations, public policy decision makers, global experts and advocates and non-state actors will also attend the conference.
The conference is made up of three segments — the dialogue of member states, UN organisations and non-state actors; the ministerial segment for member states and UN organisations at the level of ministers and national NCD directors; and a high-level segment for member states and UN organisations at the level of Heads of State and Government and Heads of UN organisations.
The conference is being held at a time the world is burdened by NCDs like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular dieses and chronic respiratory ailments. NCDs killed 40 million globally in 2015, which represented 70 percent of all deaths worldwide. Zimbabwe has not been spared from the burden of NCDs like cancer and diabetes. Some interest groups are now proposing the establishment of a cancer levy to help raise resources to deal with the disease.
The conference will come up with a document that is expected to be endorsed by participants. The outcome document is also expected to serve as an input into the discussions at the 71st World Health Assembly on the preparations for the third High-level Meeting of the United General Assembly on NCDs in 2018.