ICAP Director Wafaa El-Sadr joined Lance Armstrong (Livestrong), Paul Farmer (PIH), Sanjay Gupta (CNN), and Lawrence Shulman (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) on September 19, 2011 at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library for a panel discussion on noncommunicable diseases. The panel, “Delivering Hope: Preventing and Treating Noncommunicable Diseases in Developing Countries,” took a critical look at strategies for managing NCDs, which include cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes.

NCDs are the leading cause of death globally, responsible for the death of an estimated 36 million people each year, according to the World Health Organization. Some of the poorest and most marginalized populations in resource-limited countries are disproportionately affected by NCDs. Up to 80 percent of NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and the World Health Organization estimates that deaths from NCDs will increase by 20 percent in Africa and southeast Asia over the next 10 years.

More than 500 students and guests attended the panel discussion, which was cohosted by the World Leaders Forum and the Mailman School of Public Health and scheduled to coincide with the 2011 UN Summit on Noncommunicable Diseases in New York City. Columbia President Lee Bollinger gave a welcome address, and the dean of the Mailman School, Dr. Linda Fried, provided opening remarks.

During the discussion, El-Sadr addressed the importance of using the lessons learned in the HIV epidemic to help develop more informed prevention and treatment programs geared toward NCDs. She underscored the need for building collaborative partnerships with communities in order to identify health strategies that can achieve success. She also stressed the importance of balancing prevention and treatment—noting that this had been a major lesson learned in the HIV community.

View this World Leaders Forum.

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