For information only - not an official document
18 October 2017
INCB participates in the World Health Organization's Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases
MONTEVIDEO/VIENNA, 18 October (UN Information Service) - The President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Dr. Viroj Sumyai, is calling on States to close the "global pain divide" in his address to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) from 18 to 20 October in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Dr. Sumyai will draw attention to the treatment of NCDs and the challenges associated with pain management. In particular, when it comes to access to medicines, such as of those containing opioids, the poor are disproportionately affected, he will say, with "75 per cent of people in low- and middle-income countries having no access to such medicines for treatment". This reality is often due to a lack of specialized healthcare professionals trained in pain management and the affordability of those medicines.
This conference will focus on ensuring that government policies are geared towards promoting health by preventing and treating noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and by supporting the reduction of deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030 and promoting mental health (target 3.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The INCB President will address the landmark conference attended by Heads of State and Government, and Ministers of Health to show how INCB can support their governments in reaching the SDG target. Dr. Sumyai will emphasize that prevention of NCDs is of utmost importance and will discuss an often-hidden NCD - substance use disorders, particularly drug use disorders.
Ending with a call to action, Dr. Sumyai wants to encourage governments to review legislation to ensure that it does not impede access to pain relief medicines. "To meet the commitments set out in SDG 3.4, much work is still needed to be done," Dr. Sumyai will say and "this conference is a step in the right direction."
As WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros said: "We cannot sit by and allow our current and future generations to be afflicted by this largely avoidable threat."
The International Narcotics Control Board is the independent quasi-judicial body monitoring and promoting the implementation of the three international drug control conventions.
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