Mobilising high-level political leadership to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that kill 40 million people globally each year, 80% of which occur in low- and middle-income countries, will be the key focus of the Global NCD Alliance Forum 2017 to be held in the city of Sharjah, UAE, 9-11 December.
Some 350 delegates from 68 countries will attend the Global NCD Alliance Forum which is organised by the NCD Alliance (NCDA), a civil society alliance uniting 2,000 organisations in more than 170 countries, in partnership with the Sharjah-based local host and UICC member organisation Friends of Cancer Patients. Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah (UAE), Founder and Royal Patron of Friends of Cancer Patients, and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for the Union for International Cancer Control, is the Forum’s Patron as part of her commitment to the fight against cancer and NCDs. The inaugural Forum in 2015 was also held in Sharjah in partnership with FoCP.
“Sharjah is committed once again to making the 2nd Global NCD Alliance Forum a success and we strongly believe the event will strengthen partnerships and joint efforts that will help to drive change and reduce the devastating impact of NCDs”, said Her Excellency Mrs Sawsan Jafar, Chairman of the Board of Directors, FoCP, UAE.
NCDs such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and mental and neurological disorders are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Every year 15 million people die before the age of 70 from an NCD, most of which could be prevented or delayed. The burden is rising disproportionately among low- and middle-income countries, where almost half of premature NCD deaths occur. Within countries, these deaths disproportionally affect the poorest and most vulnerable.
The NCD epidemic is being driven by poverty, globalisation of marketing and trade of health-harming products, rapid urbanisation, and population growth. No country is immune to these diseases, and although cost-effective interventions exist to prevent and treat NCDs, no country is on track to meet the global target set to reduce premature mortality by 2025. Political inertia has contributed to future projections of sick societies, where one-third of the world’s population will be living with obesity in less than ten years’ time, and more children will be struggling with being overweight and obese than being underweight. The NCD epidemic is a global health tsunami that is undermining the health and productivity of populations and crippling economies.
“Political leaders around the world have a choice – they can either sleepwalk into a sick future as they are currently doing, or they can decide that hundreds of millions of lives are indeed worth saving. We call on political leaders to fall on the right side of history, attend the 2018 UN High-level Meeting on NCDs and commit to action,” said Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance.
Organised under the theme Stepping up the pace on NCDs: making 2018 count, the Global NCD Alliance Forum 2017 will focus on the build up to next year's United Nations (UN) High-level Meeting on NCDs where world leaders will have to make bold commitments for action to stop the preventable epidemic. In September this year, a World Health Organization (WHO) report on progress on NCD targets found that fewer than half of all countries had created plans for fighting NCDs, and that countries are not on track to meet targets to reduce premature and avoidable deaths for lack of action and resources committed to the response. This is despite projections that show that the cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of action – begging the question on what moral and economic grounds governments, international agencies and bilateral donors continue to justify business-as-usual.
Key speakers at the Global NCDA Forum 2017 include:
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