[WHA68] Statement on NCDs

Statement made on May 25th 2015 during the 68th World Health Assembly on Item 13.4: Follow-up to the 2014 high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to undertake a comprehensive review and assessment of the progress achieved in the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases.

Honorable chair,
Distinguished delegates,

The IFMSA recognizes the need to tackle, prevent and control the global burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and reduce the worldwide morbidity and mortality related to cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, as well as reduce the four shared risk factors.

Global trends indicate that NCD-related behaviors are on the rise among young people, and that they establish patterns of behavior that persist throughout life and are often hard to change. We strongly recommend that interventions aimed at reducing the burden of NCDs must include addressing risk factors during childhood and adolescence.

It is essential that the focus on NCDs should be a supplementation, rather than competitor, to communicable diseases mitigation efforts. We urge member states for more horizontal primary care approaches, aiming the strengthening of primary health services, where prevention and treatment of NCDs should be a substantial part. Furthermore, NCDs should be integrated into health-in-all policies as part of a ‘whole-of-government’ approach with intersectoral planning and programming.

Finally, IFMSA commends the efforts of WHO in the implementation of the Global Coordination Mechanism on NCDs aiming, to promote an important dialogue to facilitate and enhance the coordination of activities, multi-stakeholder engagement and action across sectors in line with Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020. However, we urge WHO and member states to give more priority to policy coherence across sectors with special attention to trade and investment and improve their engagements in the dialogues proposed by the mechanism.

We recommend governments to ensure that the voices of young people are heard and that promoting increased youth involvement in the global NCDs movement by advocating for youth-oriented NCDs awareness programs in the local, regional and global level.

Thank you.

World No Tobacco Day


Tobacco use continues to be the leading global cause of preventable death. It kills nearly 6 million people and causes hundreds of billions of dollars of economic damage worldwide each year. Most of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, disproportionally affecting some of the world’s most vulnerable populations and creating costs many nations cannot afford. Over the course of the 21st century, tobacco use could kill a billion people or more unless urgent action is taken.


Each year, the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day, on May 31, focuses global attention on the deadly toll of tobacco use and the need for countries to take strong action to address this entirely preventable epidemic.


We, IFMSA, recognize that the spread of tobacco epidemic is a global problem with serious consequences for public health such as social, economic and environmental. Therefore, we join the WHO and other public health organizations in calling on governments to raise taxes on tobacco products, which is the single most effective way to reduce tobacco use and save lives. When tobacco prices go up, smoking and other tobacco use goes down, especially among vulnerable groups such as youth, pregnant women and low-income smokers.

We support measures to eliminate tobacco use by youth, to regulate tobacco products, to eliminate exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, and to deter tobacco use in the population through legislation, regulation, litigation, media advocacy and education.

The world’s first public health treaty – the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – provides nations with a powerful tool to reduce tobacco’s devastating toll.  The treaty obligates nations to implement proven strategies to reduce tobacco use, including tobacco tax increases, 100 percent smoke-free laws, large, graphic health warnings and comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. IFMSA calls its’ National Member Organizations and members to actively work towards implementation of FCTC and WHO report on tobacco use 2011 through activities such as “leading by example” up to influencing governments on tobacco ban policies.

IFMSA and its’ members can potentially be one of leading international youth movements towards prevention of tobacco use and preventing associated illnesses taking into consideration young and medical nature of its members.


IFMSA Tobacco Control Policy Statement

The 62nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

We are here present, together with the Ministers of Health and their representatives from 53 countries in a Mediterranean working environment.

Major topics  debated on this year agenda that might raise your interest: The new European Policy for Health – Health 2020; WHO Reform (including 12th General Program of Work 2014-2019 and Proposed Programme Budget 2014-2015), Strategy and Action Plan for Healthy ageing in Europe 2012 – 2020, European action Plan for strengthening public health capacity and services, among others.

IFMSA statment

Having an active role in this meeting, IFMSA has already delivered an oral statement about NCDs and we are going to present a video statement tomorrow since the heavy packed agenda didn’t allowed NGOs to deliver their statements on the WHO reform topic, as they generally can do.

One of the key statements of Dr Margaret Chan that engaged the audience was “Heath is too big to fail”, furthermore she insisted on the fact that “Health has a high profile in the region” and we should not forget that “Health is a precondition of development” even in the actual economic crisis. However, she didn’t deny the difficulties of the current times and wondered “how to place health in the complexity of society”, but she didn’t stop insisting in the “mutual accountability” for both DG and Member states.


We also met the Regional Director Zsuzsanna Jakob and we made the first contact towards the improvement between IFMSA Europe and WHO Regional Committee for Europe.

In the process, we were also able to meet some of the MMSA Malta members and had some discussions about the ideas for the future of our Region development.  In this learning environment we started to collect some WHO publications in order to share them with the European NMOs


So far, it has been a great meeting and we hope that the last day, tomorrow, might bring more positive things to IFMSA.

From beautiful Malta,

Miguel Cabral

Oana Motea

Usman Musthaq