The United Nations General Assembly opened this week with nine days of general debate and discussion focused on creating equitable societies all over the world. As leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector gather for this annual pulse-check on progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, it’s heartening to see our leaders elevating the cross-cutting role good health plays in creating prosperity and peace across the globe.
This year’s UNGA will feature three high-level meetings on health — one on tuberculosis, one on noncommunicable diseases, and another on access to universal health care. These convenings are encouraging.
TB remains the ninth leading cause of death worldwide, with an estimated 10.4 million new cases of TB in 2016. And according to the World Health Organization, of the 56.9 million deaths in 2016 globally, more than 71 percent were due to NCDs — cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases. While access to UHC is without a doubt the way make a dent in preventable mortality of all kinds, including TB and NCDs, achieving UHC has been persistently elusive.
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