Mrs Machel and President Bachelet named commissioner to WHO

L – R: Michelle Bachelet and Graça Machel

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PMNCH Board Chair Mrs Graça Machel, SDG Advocate and Founder of the Graça Machel Trust and incoming Chair President Michelle Bachelet of Chile have both been named Commissioners to the first-ever WHO.

Independent Global High-level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, announced the Commission comprising of heads of state, ministers, leaders in health and development and entrepreneurs. The Commission will seek to identify and propose bold and practical ways to curb the world’s leading causes of death and illness.

NCDs kill 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 70 each year and are the leading causes of death and disability among women in low- and - middle-income countries. Half of all NCDs that manifest in adulthood begin early in life and can be triggered during adolescence. Accelerating action to beat NCDs is central to achieving the 2030 global development goals and targets and has become increasingly urgent, with world leaders expected to participate in the third United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs later this year.

The appointment of President Bachelet and Mrs Machel is opportune. Both women also serve on the High-level Steering Group (HLSG) for Every Woman Every Child whose members are tasked to provide leadership and inspire action for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, as well as encourage collaboration and integration with relevant areas of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals which acknowledge women, children and adolescents as central to achieving the 2030 agenda, recognize NCDs as a challenge to sustainable development. Without specific attention to the needs of women and adolescents, the impact of NCDs will hamper efforts towards the ambitious and transformational goals the world wants in 2030.

As members of the HLSG and High Level Commission on NCDs, President Bachelet and Mrs Machel will help position women's, children's and adolescents' needs across the life course, within an integrated and holistic NCDs agenda that will ensure better health and wellbeing for women, children and adolescents.