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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, September 27, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, and President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency, Mr. Edgar Lungu, co-chaired the first Multi-stakeholder panel of the Third high-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) today, Thursday, September 27, at the United Nations Headquarters.
The meeting was held on the margins of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The high-level meeting brought together world leaders, as well as global figures, who contribute their time and resources to combat the challenges of NCDs, including philanthropist Mr. Michael Bloomberg, who is now the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Ambassador for Non-communicable Diseases and Injuries; Ms. Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of former South African leader Mr. Nelson Mandela and a passionate supporter of the NCD Enough campaign, as well as Ms. Sania Nishtar, Founding President of NGO Heartfile.
The meeting sought to discuss the overall theme of scaling up multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral responses for the prevention and control of NCDs in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
The multi-stakeholder panel focused on “Strengthening health systems and financing for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on each country’s path towards achieving universal health, including through sharing evidence-based best practices, scientific knowledge and lessons learned.”
Prime Minister Harris stated in his introductory remarks that investing in the NCDs Agenda not only improves health and saves lives but will also improve a country’s economic productivity.
“It will improve workforce participation and productivity and limit the financial burden of unexpected financial costs from NCDs on the pockets of our citizens,” said Dr. Harris, who is the distinguished lead Head for Health matters in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.
The prime minister cited a report by the World Health Organization which states that if governments help the poorest countries in the world to invest US$1 per person per year in the NCDs Agenda, the world will save more than 8 million lives by 2030 and generate US$350 billion in economic output.
“If we do this in all countries in the world, WHO estimates that we will already avoid 10 million premature deaths from NCDs by 2025,” Dr. Harris said, while pointing out that this is a time of immense opportunity.
Prime Minister Harris was supported at the high-level meeting by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Premier of Nevis, the Honourable Mark Brantley, and Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, the Honourable Wendy Phipps.
The third high-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) was one of three NCDs-related sessions the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister attended today (Thursday, September 27) on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
Earlier, Dr. Harris joined his CARICOM colleagues and other delegates from partnering nations for a breakfast meeting that looked at the strides made in combating the challenges of NCDs. Prime Minister Harris also attended and addressed a World Health Organization (WHO) event, held under the theme, “Time to Deliver: Combating NCDs is a Political Choice.”