20 March 2018
CSW 62 Side Event Highlights Synergies between Health and Gender
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

On the sidelines of CSW 62, participants considered ways to enhance integration, linkages and synergies between SDG targets 3.4 (noncommunicable diseases) and 5.6 (sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights).

The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, the Permanent Mission of Zambia to the UN, WHO, UN Women, and UNAIDS.

19 March 2018: During an event on enhancing integration, linkages and synergies between sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and noncommunicable disease (NCD) programmes, participants called for strengthening partnerships by involving the private sector, rural women and ministers of education, among other stakeholders, and for providing access to financing for integration. They noted that NCDs are a leading cause of death in women.

The event titled, ‘Expand Women’s Health: Enhancing integration, Linkages and Synergies between Sexual and Reproductive Health and Noncommunicable Disease Programmes’ was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, the Permanent Mission of Zambia to the UN, the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Women, and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62).

Opening the meeting on 19 March 2018, Peter Lehmann Nielsen, Permanent Mission of Denmark, said the nexus between SRH and NCDs is important to recognize, adding that approximately 40 million people die of NCDs every year, 50% of those are still in their “productive age.” He announced that Denmark will host the WHO Global Dialogue on Partnerships for Sustainable Financing of NCD Prevention and Control, from 9-11 April 2018.

Simon Bland, UNAIDS, reported that approximately 37 million people are living with HIV globally, and 2,000,000 are affected each year. He mentioned the ‘H6’ partnership formed by UNAIDS, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WHO, UN Women and the World Bank to support the UN Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child Initiative, and to help countries strengthen their health systems and improve health services for women, children and newborns.

Taxing tobacco has been a success, and similar initiatives could be used to prevent illnesses affecting women in particular.

Maria Noel Vaeza, UN Women, underlined the need for prevention and empowerment of women to stop obesity and other NCDs. She said taxing tobacco has been a success, as it has reduced tobacco consumption, and proposed to use similar initiatives such as taxing sugar to prevent illnesses that affect women in particular.

Jonathan Klein, NCD Child, called for a “life course approach” to prevention, noting that many NCDs are linked to conditions and risk behaviors that start in adolescence and young adult life. He announced that a community of practice on gender and NCDs will be launched in the coming months, as part of the Global Coordination Mechanism on Prevention and Control of NCDs (GCN). The community of practice will be facilitated by the George Institute for Global Health.

Sheila Davis, Partners in Health, said water, energy and other SDG areas should be incorporated in funding programmes related to NCDs. Having 24-hour access to electricity, for instance, makes a difference in the quality of health care provided, she explained.

CSW 62 is taking place from 12-23 March 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. [CSW 62 Webpage] [CSW 62 Side Events] [Meeting Concept Note] [Meeting Invitation] [SDG Knowledge Hub sources]

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