NewsFirst Minister announces up to £2.5 million to boost global health

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Health4Life - Support for partner countries to tackle non-communicable diseases.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has pledged up to £2.5 million over the next five years to the Health4Life Fund – which supports global action and progress on the prevention of non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and cancers. The fund is coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and  United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The investment will be announced at an event at the UN General Assembly, and will help drive Global South-led action to support countries to build stronger health systems by tackling non-communicable diseases, which continues to be a leading cause of death and disability globally.

The WHO invited Scotland to become the first high-income donor to the Health4Life fund following our collaboration with Global South partners on tackling non-communicable diseases as outlined in 2023-24 Programme for Government.

The First Minister will also meet the Director General of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in New York. This is the first time a WHO Director General has met with a First Minister of Scotland.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said:

“This is a significant step which cements Scotland’s role as a global champion in tackling non-communicable diseases, and highlights the important contribution we can make when it comes to tackling health emergencies across the world.

“I am very proud to be able to announce our plans to become the first high-income country to contribute to the World Health Organisation’s Health4Life Fund. This investment will allow us to support the development of new programmes to improve healthcare and build stronger health systems in Malawi, Zambia, and Rwanda.

“The WHO predicts that by 2030 non-communicable diseases – such as heart attacks, strokes and cancers - will be the primary cause of death across sub-Saharan Africa, with around 3.8 million premature deaths.

“Scotland has longstanding expertise in delivering action to tackle non-communicable disease domestically, which is why are well placed to share learning beyond our borders and with partners like the WHO.

“The funding that I am confirming today makes Scotland the first high-income country to support the vital Health4Llife fund - but I very much hope that we will not be the last.”

Health4Life Fund
Programme for Government 2023 to 2024

Funding will be drawn from £11.5 million international development fund.

Scottish Government funding will support the catalysing of national, regional and global action in Scotland’s partner counties to:

  1. encourage other partners to join together and invest resources into global efforts to tackle and prevent non-communicable diseases.
  2. look at ways to scale up interventions to tackle non-communicable disease in line with the WHO ‘best buys’ - a specific set of recommendations that have been shown to be most successful and cost-effective in addressing these diseases
  3. support delivery of the WHO strategy (or ‘Best Buys’) on non-communicable diseases.
  4. better coordinate and deconflict activity across the non-communicable diseases landscape
  5. expand equitable access to safe and quality care to better support the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases in low-and middle-income countries

The Scottish Government’s partner countries are Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Pakistan.

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