At the beginning of November 2017, COHESION presented the results of its global policy analysis on NCDs at the annual symposium of Medicus Mundi Switzerland entitled «No business as usual against non-communicable diseases » (see here). The aim of this year symposium was to look at the determinants of NCDs, the organization of health care and the role of civil society in the fight against NCDs. Participants included representatives of several Swiss development NGOs, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP), as well as a wide range of international health experts.

On behalf of the COHESION team in Geneva, Olivia Heller presented the political constructions of NCDs at the global level during the session « The Way Forward: Policies at national and global level ». The presentation highlighted some of the key drivers that pushed NCDs onto the global development agenda (SDGs), as well as challenges that have considerably slowed the process of recognition and implementation of NCD related interventions. This NCD global policy analysis work is led by Dr Claire Somerville, co-PI at the Graduate Institute.

Besides COHESION’s direct contribution to the symposium, this was a unique opportunity for our Swiss team to interact with a variety of Swiss-based global health actors including key NGOs and funders, as well as international champions in the battle against NCDs. Concrete examples of interventions were presented both at policy (soda tax in Mexico, and community level (social determinants of NCDs through community mobilization, which could be of interest as models for the COHESION project in its process of developing interventions at policy, health system and community level.

The importance of NCDs linked to pre-mortality and mortality was re-emphasized along the day, presenting numbers and various situations from urban Switzerland to rural Africa. In addition, the MMS Symposium offers and excellent opportunity to establish the fundamentals for a Swiss position statement for the up-coming 2018 UN High-level Meeting on NCDs.