WHA 2021: U.S. Statement on NCDs, Oral Health, Access to Cancer Treatments, Eye Care

World Health Organization (WHO)
74th World Health Assembly  

Geneva, Switzerland – Virtual Meeting
May 24, 2021 

As delivered by Loyce Pace
Director of the HHS Office of Global Affairs 
United States of America 

Combined Intervention for 13.2 NCDs and Oral Health, 13.3 Expanding access to effective treatments for cancer and rare and orphan diseases and improving the transparency of markets, and 13.9 Eye care 

13.2 NCDs 

The United States welcomes this important opportunity to accelerate progress against noncommunicable diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed the importance of effective measures to address NCDs which have greatly exacerbated COVID-19 risks for many people.  Like NCDs, COVID-19 shines a spotlight on unequal access to services and care in many of our societies and the reality that health disparities are driven by the social, economic, and environmental determinants of health.

The United States commends the WHO and Member States with respect to the efforts to broaden the conversation about NCDs by including a more diverse set of stakeholders and partnerships. Particularly, when we look at the Global Coordination Mechanism this adds value as a neutral platform focused on bringing diverse expertise together for practical, evidence-based action to support multistakeholder partnership and strongly support the decision to extend its mandate.

We welcome intensified efforts to intensify the efforts to prevent and control the prevention and control of diabetes, and appreciate the update on major obstacles in achieving the diabetes-related targets in the GAP.  We would have appreciated more time for thoughtful consideration of the proposals in the resolution, but we recognize the urgency of addressing diabetes and can join consensus.

13.2 Oral Health 

Related to oral health, the United States welcomes the increased focus on this critical issue and support the proposed resolution. In particular, we stress the importance of human papillomavirus as a causative agent of oropharyngeal cancers, and vaccination as an evidence-based tool to prevent oropharyngeal cancer, as these efforts move forward to prevent these cancers.

13.3 Expanding access to effective treatments for cancer and rare and orphan diseases and improving the transparency of markets  

The United States welcomes the update from the Secretariat on progress that it has made in implementing WHA 70.12 on cancer prevention and control and WHA72.8 on improving the transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines and other health products. The United States strongly supported both resolutions.

In particular, the Transparency of markets remains a topic of importance especially in context of the COVID pandemic as we continue to promote the availability and affordability of COVID-19 diagnostic tests, vaccines, and treatments, as well as continued collaboration on clinical trials and research.

13.9 Eye Care 

The United States welcomes the recommendations on eye care and will post our full statement under item 13.9 on the WHO website.