400 delegates including civil society leaders, healthcare experts, policymakers and specialists from 80 countries across six continents are converging in Sharjah for the third edition of the Global NCD Alliance Forum 2020 from February 9-11 to take forward the emirate’s mandate of turning the spotlight on and galvanising action for the noncommunicable disease (NCD) epidemic, one of the most urgent health and development challenges of the 21st century.
The Forum is organised by UAE-based non-profit, Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP) in partnership with the global NCD Alliance (NCDA), under the theme ‘Bridging the Gap’. Sharjah’s leading efforts in reducing the NCD burden stems from the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and Royal Patron of FOCP, International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC.
Representatives from national and regional NCD alliances, global stakeholders and experts will unite at the Forum in a bid to transform global commitments on NCDs into action at national and local levels.
NCDs cause seven in 10 deaths globally every year, making it one of the leading causes of preventable illness and related disability worldwide (except in Africa). NCDs such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and mental and neurological disorders led to 41 million deaths in 2018 due to high tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity, amongst other risk factors.
The three-day Forum will be attended by 100+ representatives from national and regional NCD Alliances from over 40 countries, 40+ youth leaders and people living with NCDs, as well as renowned NCD and general health experts, who will partake in strategic discussions and bring their unique local experiences to four plenary sessions and 18 workshops, pushing forward Sharjah’s agenda of identifying innovative, bold and practical action steps to scale up prevention and treatment of NCDs, reduce mortality rates, and thereby unblock the barriers to good health.
40 high-profile speakers will catalyse action on transformative NCD policies and solutions
More than 40 speakers will be addressing the five main plenaries to bridge major gaps in the global NCD response and prevention. Amongst the distinguished line up of speakers seeking to identify pathways to accelerate progress at the NCD Alliance Forum this year are Zoleka Mandela, Child Health Global Ambassador, FIA Foundation; Sir Trevor Hassell President, Healthy Caribbean Coalition; Board Member, NCD Alliance, Barbados; HE AbdulRahman Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, UAE; Dr. Apoorva Gomber, Community Manager/Co-founder, Diabetes India Youth in Action; Member of Young Leaders in Diabetes, International Diabetes Federation; Grace Gatera, Communications Coordinator, Partners in Health Rwanda/Inshuti; and Mu Buzima; Young Leader, My Mind Our Humanity, The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development.
HE Mrs. Sawsan Jafar, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Friends Of Cancer Patients, UAE; Marit Viktoria Pettersen, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Ren Minghui, Assistant Director General for UHC / Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, WHO; Dr. Githinji Gitahi, MBS, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa; Co-chair, UHC2030; Dr. Colin Tukuitonga, Former Director-General, Secretariat of the Pacific Community; Todd Harper, Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Council Victoria, Australia, and President, NCD Alliance; and Katie Dain, Chief Executive Officer, NCD Alliance, will also share their expertise at the forum.
Distinguished panel of speakers step up the pace on NCDs
Other advocates and allies speaking on the global problem of NCDs include Megan Deichler, Associate Program Officer for the Type 1 Diabetes Program (T1D) Helmsley Charitable Trust, USA; Ambassador Sally Cowal, Senior Vice President, Global Cancer Control, American Cancer Society, USA; Professor John McMurry, Professor of Cardiology, University of Glasgow, UK; Dr. Hussein Heshmat Kassem, Consultant Cardiologist, Fujairah Hospital, UAE; Dr. Buthaina Abdallah Bin Belaila, Head, Supreme National Committee for the Control of NCD, UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, UAE; and Dr. Ibtihal Fadhil, Chair, Eastern Mediterranean NCD Alliance, Board member, NCD Alliance, Bahrain.
Other eminent experts addressing the event include Kwanele Asante, Secretary General, African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), Global Advisory Committee Member, Our Views, Our Voices, NCD Alliance, South Africa; Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, International AIDS Society President-Elect, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Malaya, Malaysia; Dr Douglas Webb Team Leader, Health and Innovative Financing at the HIV, Health and Development Group, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), USA; and Brenda Killen, Member of the Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman, Every Child, Every Adolescent (IAP), Director of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Secretariat, Switzerland.
80 nations from across 6 continents gather to curb the NCD epidemic
More than one-third of the 170 nations of the NCD Alliance (NCDA) are attending the Global NCD Alliance Forum in Sharjah this year.
NCDs account for 74 percent of all deaths in Middle East North Africa. Joining representatives from the UAE to take the trajectory of NCDs in this region in a positive direction are delegates from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Jordan.
In Africa, WHO estimates that by 2030 deaths by NCDs will exceed the combined deaths from communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional diseases. In the emerging scenario of the rise in NCDs causing ill health, disability and premature death, countries from the African continent at the forum include Chad, Senegal, Uganda, Cote D'Ivoire, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Togo, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia.
Seeking solutions to reduce the burden of NCDs in Asia where the major risk factors amongst the youth include tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet, delegates at the Global NCD Alliance Forum 2020 represent the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Philippines, Japan, Maldives, Myanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, WHO estimates that four major NCDs—cardiovascular disease, most cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases—will account for approximately 81 percent of deaths by 2030. Countries at the forum from this region include the South American nations of Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia; Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago from the Caribbean; and Mexico from Central and North America.
Europe & Australia
European nations attending the Global NCD Alliance Forum in Sharjah include Denmark, Germany, Slovenia and the UK. The continent of Australia is also represented at the event.
The NCD Alliance is a unique civil society network of 2,000 organisations in 170 countries, dedicated to improving NCD prevention and control worldwide. The Global NCD Alliance Forum has been serving as an effective platform for knowledge exchange, capacity building, priority setting, and facilitating twinning initiatives across the alliances.
The second edition (2017) has brought together civil society organisations involved in combating non-communicable diseases as part of the preparation for the UN high-level meeting on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in 2018. The forum witnessed the launch of the first Sharjah Award for Excellence in NCD Civil Society Action, which is granted to organisations in recognition of their efforts to reduce the incidence of NCDs according to the initiatives mentioned in the Sharjah Declaration on NCDs.
The first edition of the forum held in 2015 witnessed the launch of the Sharjah Declaration on NCDs, which was approved by more than 230 international experts, specialists and officials. The declaration included the forum’s recommendations which align with the efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda).