NCD: Cornado, “Implement Political Declaration in full, Italy ready to play role”

Diabetes WHO NCD
Roque Lazaro Peruna, 70, has had diabetes for the past 11 years and become blind 9 years ago. His wife has given up her job to take care of him. She shows great strength and communicates a positive acceptance of their situation, but Roque is clearly upset and bitter. They are seen by doctor Tessa Mattos at CEDEBA (Centro de Diabetes e Endocrinologia da Bahia), Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Photo: Eduardo Martino 16.02.2016

GENEVA, JANUARY 31 – Honored for having served as co-facilitator in New York, together with Uruguay, in the negotiating process that led to the 2018 Political Declaration on NCD, Italy called for its full implementation, taking into account the alarming impact of major non-communicable diseases, including cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders. “Italy stands ready to continue playing a central role on this subject”, the Italian Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Geneva, Gian Lorenzo Cornado, said yesterday during his address to the 144th meeting of the WHO Executive Board.

Italy – said Cornado – supports a comprehensive, holistic and multisectoral approach to the prevention and control of NCDs and the integration of mental health and air pollution as core elements of the NCD response, as it has been recognized by the 2018 Political Declaration. “In this framework, and as far as nutrition- related NCDs are concerned, we would like to stress once again that the only way to tackle this issue lies in the promotion of a balanced, healthy and sustainable diet, that does not exclude a priori any food and, at the same time, limits the total intake of each single nutrient. Therefore, we believe that the central element of our strategy to beat NCDs should be the empowerment of the individuals, by strengthening health literacy, primarily through education and information campaigns that can educate the public about NCDs’ risk factors and about the value of healthy lifestyles and healthy diets”, added the Italian Ambassador stressing that WHO’s recommendations in this field “should always be based on robust scientific evidence”. That is why it must be recalled that Italy, at the 2017 WHA, made formal reservations to the adoption of the so-called “best-buys”, specifically to those recommended interventions, such as taxation on specific foods, that have no certainty of proving effective.

As far as the Director General Report is concerned, Cornado pointed out that the spirit of the Political Declaration doesn’t seem to be captured in the document. “We examined it carefully – ha said – and we noted that in the text there is no reference to “education”, “strengthening health literacy”, “empowering the individual”. Extensive reference is, instead, made to the “best-buys” and other recommended interventions. The 2018 Political Declaration must be implemented fully”. (@OnuItalia)