The 15th World Stroke congress on 10-12 October 2023 welcomed in person attendance from over 2000 participants from across the globe. These participants had the opportunity to attend the Stroke and noncommunicable disease (NCD) dialogue, a series of four sessions co-hosted by World Stroke Organization, American Stroke Association, Heart & Stroke Foundation Canada and NCD Alliance.
The Stroke and NCD Dialogue took place during the congress coffee breaks and aimed to discuss stroke within the context of other NCDs that share common risk factors, such as heart disease and cancer, encouraging conversation between speakers and attendees in an interactive and engaging environment. Across the four sessions, a total of 14 speakers from 10 countries and a variety of backgrounds in the stroke and NCD community, shared their perspectives on key priorities within the NCDs and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda.
The solutions to lowering NCD mortality exist within the successful implementation of NCDs prevention and care policy and the progressive achievement of UHC. UHC, the commitment to ensuring financial protection from high out-of-pocket healthcare payments and access to quality essential healthcare for all, was spotlighted at the global level in 2019 at the first UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) on UHC. On 21 September 2023, the global health community convened once more at the HLM on UHC to advance the UHC agenda. In the lead up to this HLM, the NCD Alliance community called on governments to uphold their commitments to UHC across the three dimensions of service coverage, financial coverage and population coverage. This call was centred around four advocacy priorities, which provided a focus for each of the four sessions within the 2023 Stroke and NCD Dialogue.
The first session discussed meaningful involvement of people living with stroke and NCDs and how we can ENGAGE people living with NCDs to keep UHC people centered, highlighting that people who experience a stroke are the real experts in their healthcare journey and there are global frameworks in place to support involving them in policymaking processes. Session 2 focused on how we can ACCELERATE UHC implementation by including quality NCD prevention and care services in country UHC health benefit packages. Stroke was highlighted as an impactful example that demonstrates the need to consider the entire continuum of care from stroke prevention at the community level all the way to stroke rehabilitation services. The third session provided valuable insights from different countries on the need to INVEST in the prevention and control of NCDs through adequate, predictable and sustained resources for UHC. The ways in which these investments can support protection of those living with NCDs and stroke survivors from catastrophic out of pocket health expenditure was also discussed. The Stroke and NCD Dialogue wrapped up with a final session on how we can ALIGN development and global health priorities to achieve UHC, specifically on the importance of aligning stroke and NCD treatment with a gender equity lens so that nobody is left behind.
The 2023 Stroke and NCD Dialogue advanced the discourse on the priorities for action to achieve the progressive realisation of UHC and provided a platform for open discussions between key stakeholders as we progress on from the 2023 HLM on UHC and build momentum towards the next HLM on NCDs in 2025 at the national and global level. Follow NCD Alliance to #ActOnNCDs
Achieving our vision of a life free from stroke is a task that WSO cannot achieve alone. We are committed to building our partnerships at the global, regional and national level to scale up and deliver improvements in prevention, treatment and support to reduce the burden of stroke.