During the VIII Summit of the Americas that took place in Lima, Peru, presidents of the region discussed corruption, the governance of our peoples and economic and social sustainability. For the first time at the Summit, health is on the agenda.

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Corruption, obstacles to democratic governance, lack of transparency, and difficulties in implementing public social policies are all factors that negatively impact the health systems of the region and conspire against the development of the communities of the Americas. The four main noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases) are the main cause of disease, disability and preventable death in the world in general and in the region of the Americas in particular. They are responsible for 70% of deaths.

The costs of these diseases constitute a significant burden for health budgets and national economies. These diseases reduce economic productivity, overload health systems and promote individual and family poverty. It is not possible to build a sustainable and functional economy if disability and premature deaths due to NCDs remain so high and costly for governments.

That is why civil society organizations in the region, based in the Healthy Latin American Coalition (CLAS), asked presidents present at the Summit to implement concrete measures to protect the health of the population without the interference of the industry. These measures include fiscal policies that increase the price of unhealthy products (cigarettes, sugary drinks, among others) to discourage consumption; the implementation of front labeling in foods that provide clear and useful information to consumers, among others. In parallel, CLAS asks presidents to make an appointment with health and attend the UN High Level Meeting on NCD on September 27, 2018 in New York City.

About CLAS

It is an alliance of more than 250 non-governmental organizations in Latin America whose purpose is to prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in this region. Its members include medical societies, patient organizations, health NGOs, consumer NGOs, religious and academic entities. Founded in March 2011, it is aimed at reducing inequality, promoting human rights, and promoting effective policies with an impact on the risk factors and determinants of NCD. Its objective is to strengthen the action of civil society to prevent and control NCDs in the region through political advocacy, education, awareness and research, at the national and regional levels, so that effective policies are implemented, in line with the objectives of the United Nations (UN) and PAHO-WHO. It is an initiative of the Inter-American Heart Foundation.

Contact

Agustina Mozzoni, agustinamozzoni@fundeps.org