What's your logo's global health story?

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 26 July 2016

Half ribbon symbol created by WHO in collaboration with other actors working in the NCD space. Image credit: World Health Organization

A white symbol against a blue background made many appearances last week in New York during the launch of the World Health Organization’s global campaign around noncommunicable diseases.

The symbol  isn’t a tree branch or an artery, though it bears resemblance. It’s a half ribbon; the four strokes that create it symbolize the four diseases that account for 82 percent of NCD deaths worldwide — cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes.

The symbol, created by WHO in collaboration with other actors working in the NCD space, borrows from the iconic red ribbon, which was created in 1991 by a group of artists to show support for those suffering from HIV and AIDS. The red ribbon eventually became instrumental in launching a movement to fight the disease; WHO hopes the NCD symbol will inspire the same.

The symbol evokes the idea of movement, “like legs walking,” said Paul Garwood, communications officer for NCDs at WHO in Geneva. It comes in four different shades: red for cardiovascular disease, orange for cancer, and two varying shades of blue for diabetes and chronic respiratory disease. The wording on the right also changes accordingly, depending on who uses it. If your organization’s focus is cancer, for example, the wording changes from Getting to 2018 — which is the year the U.N. General Assembly is set to conduct a review of the global progress in the fight against NCDs — to “together let’s #beatcancer.”

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.

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