The tremendous cost of NCDs is obvious to even causal observers, but it is an as-yet unsolved challenge to make this threat sufficiently pressing to inspire the relatively simple measures that might reduce some risk factors and open the door to more complex changes to address others. One important reason for this inaction is the wide variety of professional, commercial, governmental, and public interests that would have to be engaged to produce a solution. Designing such solutions, facilitating cooperation, establishing responsibilities, and enforcing responsibilities requires both ways of thinking and channels of action that do not exist in most governments and societies.
The complexity needed to understand NCD causes and risk factors is at odds with typical public health approaches, which usually emphasize narrow interventions. The first objective of the session is to highlight this problem by assembling speakers with different lenses on NCDs and asking them to discuss causes, responses, and accountabilities. The second objective is to sketch possible solutions by discussing ways that cooperation and collaboration may be improved.