In its statement for the UN High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage earlier this week, the World Heart Federation (WHF) – supported by the International Diabetes Federation and World Stroke Organization – urged the body to accelerate multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder actions and investments for achieving UHC.

In its introductory comment, the federation reminded the UN that at the 2017 World Heart Association meeting, the “best buys” document on NCDs was adopted: “When implemented,” it went on, “these best buys can support countries in reaching both SDG targets 3.4 and 3.8. 

“How, you may ask? 

“By implementing the best buys, governments can protect health, make populations more productive, save on health-care costs, and, when they implement taxes on tobacco, sugary drinks, and alcohol, generate revenues that can be ploughed back into financing UHC.”

The WHF continued by noting that the World Bank Group has identified fiscal policies, particularly on tobacco, as “win-win policy measures” that achieve public health goals and raise domestic resources by expanding fiscal space for UHC priority investments.

“We congratulate you on having recognized the importance of fiscal policies for health in Paragraph 44 of the Political Declaration, and we now call on Ministries of Health to engage more productively with their colleagues in Ministries of Finance to see them implemented. Concluding, it added: “We pledge to do more to help you to make the case for fiscal policies, and to demonstrate that health expenditure is an investment, not a cost.”

SOURCE: (supplied by SA Heart)