Prof Vikram Patel Announced as Member of High-level WHO Commission

5 Feb 2018 - 09:15

Professor Vikram Patel, one of PRIME's research directors, has been appointed as a commissioner on the WHO Independent Global High-level Commission on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Prof. Patel will serve on the Commission together with many high-level leaders across the world. They include Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the Global Health Centre and adjunct professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Michael Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and WHO Global Ambassador for NCDs and Injuries as well as Arnaud Bernaert, the Head of Global Health and Healthcare at the World Economic Forum.

Vikram Patel is a professor of global health and social medicine and psychiatrist whose work over the past two decades has focused on reducing the treatment gap for mental disorders in low resource countries. His work has addressed four major themes: (1) generating policy relevant evidence on the burden and impact of mental disorders; (2) developing and evaluating mental health interventions for delivery by non-specialist and lay health workers; (3) developing training programmes to build research capacity and leadership in global mental health; and (4) communicating research to diverse audiences to act on this evidence.

The plans to form the Commission was announced in by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the 64th Session of WHO’s Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean being held in Islamabad, 9-12 October.

In a statement, the WHO says the commission’s aim is to identify innovative ways to curb the world’s biggest causes of death and extend life expectancy for millions of people.

"The commission will support ongoing political efforts to accelerate action on cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and respiratory disease, as well as reducing suffering from mental health issues and the impacts of violence and injuries.

"The High-level global Commission will be chaired by Dr Sania Nishtar, a prominent global advocate for action against NCDs, former Federal Minister of the government of Pakistan and civil society leader. Dr Nishtar has also previously served as co-chair of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

"NCDs kill approximately 40 million people globally each year, accounting for 70% of all deaths. About 15 million of those deaths are in people between the ages of 30 and 69. Low- and middle-income countries are particularly affected by NCDs with more than 80% of all deaths from NCDs occurring in these countries. Violence and injuries take an overwhelming toll on young people, particularly boys.

"In 2015, world leaders committed to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Recent WHO reports indicate that the world will struggle to meet that target."