NCD Synergies leads virtual discussions on NCDs, Poverty and Development

Author: Amy McLaughlin, NCD Synergies
March 12, 2018

On February 28 2018, the NCD Synergies network, in collaboration with WHO and the NCDI Poverty Secretariat, launched a WHO Community of Practice (CoP) on NCDs, Poverty and Development. The virtual dialogue will take place over the coming months in the lead-up to the UN High-level Meeting on NCDs in September 2018.

This online platform will consist of four webinars, with virtual group discussions to follow each session.

The first webinar was held on February 28th, highlighting the topic: “Understanding the feedback loop between NCDs and poverty in low- and middle-income countries”.

Over 40 participants joined the opening webinar. Discussion centered on the relationship between NCDs and extreme poverty, emphasizing the need to address NCDs in order to achieve universal health coverage and sustainable development.

Dr. Gene Bukhman, NCD Synergies Director and co-chair of The Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission, opened the webinar with a brief presentation highlighting the relationship between NCDs, injuries, and extreme poverty with particular attention on severe, chronic NCDs and the disproportionate affect they have on the youngest and most vulnerable populations.

In addition, the webinar featured two case studies by national NCD thought leaders in Nepal and Ethiopia, which illustrated the NCD burden in lower-resource settings and discussed innovative national strategies which target and reach the poorest communities:

  • Dr. Mahlet Kifle Habtemariam – Takemi Fellow at Harvard School of Public Health (formerly Director General, Office of the Minister, Federal Ministry of Health Ethiopia)
  • Dr. Bhagawan Koirala – Chief of the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Tribhuvan University


The three webinar presenters, from left to right: Dr. Gene Bukhman, Dr. Mahlet Kifle Habtemariam, and Dr. Bhagawan Koirala. All three serve on the Steering Committee for the WHO CoP on NCDs, Poverty, and Development. In the opening webinar, they shared their expertise with the group and guided the discussion, encompassing both a global overview as well as country-specific examples from Ethiopia and Nepal. 

The Community of Practice will be ongoing through 2018. Participation is encouraged for those interested in this topic, any and all are welcome to join. The first webinar, including all presentations and supporting materials are available in the online group. The second webinar will be held in summer 2018; subsequent webinars and virtual discussions will be held throughout 2018 and into 2019. Finalized webinar dates, themes and and discussion leaders will be available shortly.

Sign up here if you are interested in joining the Community of Practice!