UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases: Multinational Medical Directors Issue Statement
September 17, 2011
In the lead up to the UN High-Level Meeting that begins on Monday, September 19th 2011, major private sector partners have come together to support a robust agenda in the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The private sector’s commitment to this cause is vital. Reducing, preventing, and treating non-communicable diseases in all countries, but in particular in low- to middle-income countries, will rely to a significant extent on the private sector’s actions. Alongside efforts being made in the public sector to battle NCDs, the private sector can contribute to health systems development, producing healthier food and beverages, offering affordable health care and medicines, and providing innovative medical technologies. The managerial and systems experience the private sector brings to improving health systems will also be fundamental to slowing the rise of NCDs.
Among these private sector partners, Medtronic – a medical device company – has played an important leadership role. Medtronic and the Medtronic Foundation has committed $7.2 million in grants to reduce the global burden of non-communicable diseases. Of this total, Medtronic granted $1 million to the NCD Alliance, an important coalition of nonprofit organizations formed to give voice to the four disease areas – cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic respiratory disease – in the deliberations leading up to the High-Level Meeting.
Beyond monetary commitments, leaders of the company have also spoken about their long-term dedication to combating the rising tide of NCDs on several occasions. In February of this year, Jean-Luc Butel – Executive Vice President and Group President, International at Medtronic – spoke at a CSIS event about the integral strengths the private sector brings to the table on this issue. And just this week on September 14 – Herb Riband, Vice President of Medtronic – spoke at a Washington Post Live event, where I was also a speaker.
In June, at the initiative of Trevor Gunn – Senior Director of International Relations at Medtronic - Medtronic, alongside ExxonMobil, rallied the business community in new innovative ways to discuss, not only their core capabilities within their own immediate circles, but equally to reach their extended global stakeholders to address the persistent challenge of NCDs. At the "Fireside Chat on NCDs," at which Medical Directors from eleven major U.S. companies participated for a full day, everything from policy approaches, partnerships, best practices, economic investments, and future steps was discussed. Over 90% of the companies represented were from the non-health field and, in total, represent over 1.1 million employees and their families.
From this important meeting, private sector corporations have issued a statement of commitment which I am pleased to feature on our website. This statement is testimony to what I hope to see at next week’s UN High-Level Meeting: businesses stepping forward in pragmatic and meaningful ways to produce a new agenda to combat NCDs.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions.
J. Stephen Morrison
Senior Vice President, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Director, Global Health Policy Center
Multinational Medical Directors Issue Statement on NCDs
We, the Corporate Medical Directors and senior physicians who care for the health and wellness of employees and their families for ExxonMobil, Medtronic, IBM, Cisco Systems, 3M, Lockheed Martin, Air Products, Merck, General Mills and DuPont, gathered in Washington, DC on 21, June 2011;
Representing various industrial segments including Chemicals and Gases, Pharmaceutical, Medical Technology, Food and Consumer Products, General Manufacturing, Natural Resources, Healthcare, Information and Communications Technology, Aerospace and Defense, with over approximately 3 million employees and families in over 200 countries;
Express our concern for the existing and increasing burden of all aspects of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) on our employees and families; that NCDs are responsible for over 35 million annual deaths globally, 80% of those deaths occur in Low and Middle-Income Countries; that additionally, according to the United Nations Secretary General’s Office, a 60% increase in NCDs will occur by 2030;
Express our support for the first ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Disease involving Heads of State to be held in September 2011;
RATIONALE FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR
We, as global companies and citizens, attempt to have a positive impact in the communities in which we operate;
With the workplace as a place where people spend a significant amount of time, it can serve as a platform for healthcare promotion and education;
The private sector has a relevant role to play in NCDs due to its unique experience and expertise in areas such as developing innovation, technology, supply chain and logistics, and creating awareness through advertising and marketing;
The private sector benefits directly from the health and well-being in global markets and can contribute in meaningful ways to the fight against NCDs;
Beliefs and Commitments
We believe in:
- The primary role of awareness, prevention and primary care in order to avoid NCDs for our employees, families and communities in which we work;
- Evidence-based guidelines for treatment and prevention of NCDs;
- Local solutions to NCDs, buttressed by partnerships and companies’ global support mechanisms;
- ·Multi-sectorial engagement, which includes all elements of society, including the private sector;
- ·Engaging with the public sector to help raise the awareness of NCDs and the need to bring solutions involving education, innovation, and partnerships on prevention and treatment of NCDs;
We commit to engage in the effort to:
- Participate in the search of solutions and participate in NCD discussions at the Global, National, and Local level;
- Share our experiences and expertise in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and control of all aspects NCDs.
- Leverage our companies' workplace wellness activities to develop effective and appropriate tools to address NCDs