The next stage, which IFPMA has agreed to support, is to test and assess the NCD Toolkit in the field, that is, to answer the question: can health practitioners around the world use it in their daily work to educate patients on the risks of behaviours and to assess their current exposure to NCDs.
My speech at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) reception, held in Geneva last 1st December:
Thank you for your kind invitation: it is indeed a great pleasure to be here today to address and touch base with IFPMA, one of FDI’s most valued partners and friends.
Last time I spoke to you was on 7 July, at the very well attended IFPMA reception during ECOSOC at the United Nations. That, of course, was also an early stage of what turned out to be a highly successful and visible campaign on noncommunicable diseases.
From left, Eduardo Pisani, IFPMA director general, and David Brennan, IFPMA president and CEO of AstraZeneca.
It was particularly important for FDI to lead the NCD campaign: it meant we could help our partners in the World Health Professions Alliance in their efforts to accomplish goals in the field of public health.
For FDI, it meant that we could achieve a long-standing need—and personal goal of mine—to better integrate dental medicine into the general practice of medicine. This is particularly important in NCDs where dentists will be called upon to play a key role identifying tell-tale signs of high risk behaviour, such as tobacco use, as well as early signs of chronic illness.
In effect, practitioners in oral health are one of the few medical professions that patients visit routinely for a check-up and whose work involves visual inspection of the mouth and gums
In addition, as IFPMA and its members well know, saliva testing is becoming increasingly used as a means of disease diagnosis and monitoring, due to its convenience, accuracy and non-invasive nature – and, once again, dental practitioners are in privileged position.
Just to recapitulate, the campaign itself involved two major processes: the first was educational and included the development of a health improvement scorecard and scorecard user manuals targeting health professionals, on the one hand, and patients and public, on the other.
I think we all agree that the resulting product was pleasing to the eye, conveniently packaged, and well-conceived in terms of content and usability.
We will know the answers to those questions during the next few months of field testing.
The other part of the campaign was to launch the toolkit prior to and during the United Nations Summit on NCDs in New York. We did the launch in three places and in my presence, although my presence at the Geneva event was via a recorded message!
Both I and former FDI President addressed some 40 participants at a media launch in Mexico City. The location was aptly chosen because WHO had already held a high-level regional consultation of the Americas on NCDs in February of this year, which meant the media were already sensitized to the issue.
Finally, the toolkit was presented at number of side events held during the UN Summit itself, including the event ‘Putting the teeth into NCDs’ sponsored by the Republic of Tanzania, Australia and Sweden – and, of course, the IFPMA reception, held at the United Kingdom Mission to the UN in New York.
Further, I was able to introduce WHPA and the Toolkit as a prime example of inter-professional collaboration on NCDs during two of the parallel sessions at the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health last October in Rio.
One of the sessions was moderated by Jorge Venegas, Ministry of Health of Uruguay; the other, in the presence of Dr. José Luiz Amaral, President-Elect of the World Medical Association, was entitled ‘the Changing the role of public health’.
These have been exciting times and, from the point of view of FDI, an excellent opportunity to promote our product and consolidate our working relationship with IFPMA.
For our part, we very much look forward to the field testing, to be carried out jointly with our WHPA partners – and of course, to our continued excellent relations with our friends at IFPMA.
Thank you for your attention!