June 27, 2011 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20500 Dear President Obama: We, the undersigned organizations, respectfully urge your attendance at the United Nations (UN) High- Level Session on Non Communicable Disease (NCD), September 19-20, 2011, in New York. This critical meeting marks just the second time the UN will consider a specific health issue – the first being HIV/AIDS. The United States’ leadership before, during and after the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS), held in 2004, inspired partners the world over to do more. UNGASS also helped lead to a decade of progress combating HIV/AIDS, in part due to White House leadership and involvement. Now is the time for the United States to demonstrate the same type of leadership on NCDs. The United States has taken significant steps in this regard. We thank you for Secretary Sebelius’ attendance at the First Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Noncommunicable Disease Control in Moscow in April. In addition, we have seen the First Lady’s Let’s Move Campaign inspire many to do more and live a healthier lifestyle. Yet there is much more to do. NCDs, namely diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and lung disease, are significant public health challenges, causing 63 percent of all deaths globally, 80 percent of which occur in developing countries. These illnesses are also linked to poor health on other global health measures including those prioritized in your Administration’s Global Health Initiative. For example, high blood pressure results in poor pregnancy outcomes for mothers. Tobacco smoking in India causes 40 percent of TB-related deaths. In Mexico, 25 percent of new pulmonary TB cases are caused by diabetes. And evidence shows that under-nutrition during the first two years of life predisposes infants to developing NCDs. These NCDs are both health challenges and threats to economic development. The World Economic Forum estimates a 10-year cost of nearly one trillion dollars from these four illnesses alone. For our strategic partners and allies, such as India and Tanzania, this means a potential loss of gross domestic product of more than 4 percent. For others, such as Russia, the toll is estimated to be nearly three times more. We believe countries should be encouraged to take ownership and drive their domestic NCD response. But for many, particularly developing countries, this means re-engineering the way they face health challenges. By 2020, the largest increases in NCD mortality will occur in Africa and other developing countries that are the most poorly equipped to respond to the ever-mounting burden of NCDs. Health systems will require adaptation from fragmented, disease-specific programs, to a cohesive system that can respond to a broad range of patient needs, from HIV/AIDS, to cervical cancer, to diabetes in an integrated way. The United States is a recognized leader for global health programming. Unprecedented investments and continued bipartisan support for challenges like HIV/AIDS have placed our nation at the forefront of global health. The upcoming UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs presents another opportunity for the Administration to demonstrate its commitment to improving health around the world and support countries as they build sustainable health systems, while acknowledging the important link between poverty and NCDs. We thank you again for your continued leadership in global health and respectfully request your personal participation at the High Level Meeting on NCDs to bring global leadership and attention to this critical issue. Your presence will undoubtedly drive global engagement, and encourage other countries to take ownership and lead on this issue as well.
Sincerely, Afghan Society Against Cancer African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) African Heart Network AK Khan Healthcare Trust American Cancer Society American Diabetes Association American Institute for Cancer Research American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad, Inc APSA International Arogya World Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology Burundian Hypertension League Children’s HeartLink C3 Collaborating for Health CLAN (Caring & Living As Neighbours) CNCD-Africa The Corporate Council on Africa Cyprus Anticancer Society Scientific Committee Danish Cancer Society Danish Diabetes Association Danish Heart Foundation Development Finance International, Inc Disease Management Association of India East Medical Centre, Solomon Islands Eliezah Foundation Initiative Uganda Eli Lilly and Company Eminence Fight the Obesity Epidemic Finnish Heart Association FHI Generation Sans Tabac Gst George Washington University Cancer Institute Global Alcohol Policy Alliance Global Alliance of Traditional Health Systems Global Health Council Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa Heart Friends Around the World HelpAge International IMA World Health Imamia Medics International InterAmerican Heart Foundation International Cardiac Healthcare & RiskFactor Modification International Diabetes Federation International Ergonomics Association International Federation of Psoriasis Associations International Medical Corps Irish Cancer Society Jimma University, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Ethiopia
Kenya Cardiac Society King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF) Liga Argentina de Lucha contra Cáncer LIVESTRONG Management Sciences for Health Media Alliance in Tobacco Control Medtronic Medwin Heart Foundation National Heart Association of Malaysia National Institute of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, Vietnam Nigerian Heart Foundation Norwegian Health Association Novo Nordisk Inc Oncology Consulting International, LLC PATH Pan African Society of Cardiology Population Services International (PSI) Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association ProCor Project HOPE Public Health Institute Sanofi Simasoh-Nani International Sociedad de Lucha Contra el Cancer (SOLCA) Sociedad Paraguaya de Cirugia Oncologica South American Society of Cardiology South Asian Society on Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis Spanish Heart Foundation Spanish Society of Cardiology Srinivasa Heart Foundation Swiss Heart Foundation Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Population Health Tobacco- Free Association of Zambia Tseu Medical Institute, Harris Manchester College University of Montpellier (France) Université de Montréal, Département de nutrition University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute University of the West Indies University of Washington, Department of Global Health University Research Co., LLC – Center for Human Services World Cancer Research Fund International World Diabetes Foundation World Lung Foundation World Stroke Organization Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network
Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary, U.S. Department of State Ms. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health Dr. Harvey Fineberg, President, Institute of Medicine Ms. Dana DeRuiter, National Security Council Ms. Gayle Smith, National Security Council Ms. Tina Tchen, Office of the First Lady