Presentation to the American Chamber of Commerce

A few weeks ago I was invited by the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa to present Project HOPEs plans for our chronic disease program for South Africa. Project HOPE participates on the HIV/health forum at the Chamber which is made up of representatives from US corporations, US government, NGOs and other interested parties.

It was a good opportunity to make contacts and share our vision for South Africa. To say thank you I was presented with a small gift from Lauren Marks who is the co-chair and who is a Health Program and Public Private Partnership Advisor for USAID.


  1. Not long until the UN summit on NCDs now... really hope that the politics will be overcome - tackling NCDs is a long-term game, but it would be great to think that this summit could be the start, if not a game-changer.

    Hopefully political short-termism won't triumph putting together a coherent strategy to overturn the non-inclusion of NCDs in the Millennium Development Goals, despite them accounting for 60% of global deaths.

    Because NCDs were not part of the goals, as the British Medical Journal points out, they aren't prioritised by governments. Health Ministers don't seek support for prevention and control because of the lack of available funding. Little research can be done on how to prevent and treat these conditions, and this allows cynics to argue there is weak evidence for intervention - a catch 22 situation is created. Yet proven cost-effective interventions DO exist - the Hope Centre is a case in point.

    At a preparatory meeting in New York representatives of the US, Europe and key Western allies, blocked consensus on action on NCDs after lobbying from the alcohol, food, and tobacco industries. Negotiations stalled. When asked why Michelle Obama's successful childhood obesity programmes in the US should not be modelled in developing countries, a US official responded that they might harm American exports. Powerful corporate vested interests continue.

    Add to that, why has there been no strong base of advocates unlike HIV? Advocacy on NCDs has been described by young people as 'dull', lacking an emphasis on social justice (so some think) or inequality (again, so some think) and missing a sense of outrage and urgency against continued inaction.

    The current draft of the declaration on NCDs has no time bound commitments; does not allocate resources to prevent and control these diseases; and does not include language focusing on the most cost effective fiscal and regulatory interventions.

    It's a good job there are NGO's like yourselves and other elements of civil society to create a sense of urgency and provide the expertise in this area.

    Keep up the good work,