On Tuesday, May 9, 2023, Beyond Type 1 joined the World Health Organization (WHO) and Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Alliance to call on world leaders at the United Nations Hearing on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Panelists came together to break down silos and promote a holistic approach to noncommunicable disease prevention and care, focusing on putting people at the center of policy and programmatic decision-making.
Beyond Type 1’s Vice President of International Markets, Mariana Gómez, served on a panel alongside esteemed world health leaders to discuss how to guarantee the right to health for people living with NCDs through UHC. Co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the UN, NCD Alliance, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and WHO, the event presented advocacy priorities and key asks ahead of the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on UHC, which will take place on September 21, 2023.
The High-Level Meeting will mark a critical moment for advancing NCD prevention and control at the highest policy-making level. NCDs cause 74% of deaths worldwide—17 million people die annually from a NCD before the age of 70. One hundred million people are pushed into extreme poverty yearly because of out-of-pocket payments required to manage their care. At least half the world’s population currently lacks essential comprehensive health services coverage.
“We are not patients because we are impatient,” said Gómez, providing critical perspectives from her lived experience. “We must act now. Those of us with a noncommunicable disease like type 1 diabetes, like me, who are privileged to be alive, cannot stand by while our peers worldwide don’t have access to the basic care they need to live. And while this is my story, it is the story of many others impacted by noncommunicable diseases.”
The main NCD types are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Discussion during the panel called for prioritizing NCD interventions at the community level through primary care professionals and community members and empowering patient-managed care. A common theme included the need to listen to and leverage the lived experience to craft integrated recommendations for policy change and build a holistic healthcare approach to NCDs and chronic care.
“Beyond Type 1 is committed to meeting people where they are—regardless of what stage of their diabetes journey they’re in, what language they speak, or what kind of health coverage or support system they have,” said Deborah Dugan, Beyond Type 1 CEO. “It’s critical that everyone, everywhere, has access to high-quality healthcare services that they need, without facing financial hardships, and that’s what Universal Health Coverage is all about. We commend the WHO and the NCD Alliance for convening this group. We’re honored to be able to work with other noncommunicable disease opinion leaders, nonprofit organizations, health care professionals and decision-makers to build more equitable care solutions.”
- Mr. Werner Obermeyer, director of the WHO office at UN Headquarters in New York
- Dr. Monika Arora, president-elect of NCD Alliance and executive director at HRIDAY
- Ms. Alison Cox, director of policy and advocacy at NCD Alliance
Elisha Dunn-Georgieu, president and CEO of the Global Health Council, moderated the event.
Ambassador Mr. Brian Wallace (permanent representative of Jamaica to the UN), Ambassador Mrs. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett (permanent representative of Guyana to the UN) and Ambassador Mr. Mohammad Abdul Muhith (permanent representative of Bangladesh to the UN) opened and closed the panel discussion by providing snapshots of NCD-related measures taken in each country, describing how to champion UHC progress.
Following the first United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in 2019, Heads of State and Government will meet again in September 2023 to discuss UHC. This High-Level Meeting takes place immediately after the opening of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly and SDG Summit, providing an opportunity to advance the policy and implementation, enabling progressive achievement of UHC by ensuring equity in countries’ UHC health benefits packages across the three pillars of financial, quality service and population coverage.
Gómez is a part of the NCD Diaries Our Views, Our Voices initiative. Read her story here.