The forum brought together high-profile speakers, leaders, experts, advocates and policy makers from around the globe at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre.
Experts at the Global Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases for Children and Youth called for immediate and targeted initiatives to manage and prevent NCDs affecting children, with more concentrated efforts from global governments. They also emphasised on strengthening the existing regional alliance network base infrastructure and utilising the power of social media to increase awareness on such diseases.
The forum organised by Friends of Cancer Patients and NCD Child Alliance, held on March 25th and 26th, brought together high-profile speakers, leaders, experts, advocates and policy makers from around the globeat Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre. They engaged in pioneering discussions on the NCD landscape, sharing personal experiences, lessons learnt, potential road blocks, and what must be prioritised and in terms of collaborative efforts towards NCD advocacy and multi-stakeholder partnerships. Furthermore, 20 prominent speakers conducted insightful and knowledgeable sessions to over 200 delegates hailing from numerous advocacy organisations and national and regional NCD alliances.
The need for strong individual national responses that are focussed on controlling NCDS in children: Christina Persons Perez, Capacity Development Director at NCD Alliance highlighted the impact on global health statistics if measures aren’t taken to control NCDs in children and youth within the next 5-10 years, “Non-communicable diseases are a global epidemic that the world is facing at the moment. If we don’t take action immediately, what we are going to see is the continuation of the NCD epidemic affecting people in every single country.When NCDs affect the younger generation, it means that youth and children don’t grow up to be adults or a part of the fabric of society.
How the regional alliance network base can strengthen their existing infrastructure:“The regional alliance network base can engage the youth and young children, by breaking down the NCD framework and ulitilising practical approaches at a school and community level. Kids spend half of their life in the school environment, so we have to bring NCD prevention and awareness in that space. We can gamify the information imparted on NCDs between classes to create awareness in an innovative way,” David Mulabi, CEO, East Africa NCD Alliance said. He mentioned that advocates need to integrate NCD prevention and awareness within the day-to-day structure of the community.
Governments need to do more to protect children and youth from lifestyle-related illnesses:“There are several civil societies that do conduct awareness programmes and behavioural change programmes in order to minimise or decrease the risk factors of non-communicable diseases, but the question is if it’s enough. We still need to do many more projects and activities in order to achieve our goal,” Mariam Abdoh, Programmes Development & Advocacy Manager from the Royal Health Awareness Society, Jordan, commented.
Several health awareness programmes and schemes have been targeted at schools in Jordan that are meant to encourage nutrition physical activity, cleanliness, hygiene and so forth. However, Abdoh says the level of implementation of these programs can be more widespread, and similar sentiments are shared worldwide, “As of now, what we try to implement is disseminated among smaller groups and we still need more support, cooperation and partnership from governments in order to reach the level we need to. We need to empower young people so that they can empower their peers in turn.”
Social media can play a stronger advocacy role in the prevention of NCDs:
When asked about the role that social media can play as a form of raising awareness and if there can be a possible global media coalition that champions the rights and needs of children living with or at risk of NCDs, Diana McGhie, Global Advocacy Manager at American Heart Association shared, “I absolutely believe that social media is a huge factor in the lives of our children and one of the platforms through which they interact with one another. Through social media, the youth talk about social movements that are important to them. Utilising this platform is a real quick and easy win for advocacy efforts on an international scale. As a result of young people coming together through such this medium, we can achieve a global media coalition.”
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