Sharjah will host the first global forum on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) from November 13-15 under the patronage of Her Highness SheikhaJawaherbint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) and International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC.The three-day event is a collaboration between FoCP and the NCD Alliance, and comes nearly one year after the NCD Alliance appointed SheikhaJawaher Al Qasimi as the Royal Patron of the Global NCD Alliance Forum, in September 2014, in recognition of her efforts and commitment to fight against cancer and non-communicable diseases locally, regionally and globally.
The forum, whichwill bring together major NCD organisations from all over the world and a large group of NCD experts and specialists, aims to mobilise attention and raise awareness in order to secure financial resources to support international efforts in the fight against non-communicable diseases, specifically in low and middle-income countries. The NCD forum also seeks to put the issue of non-communicable diseases on the global agenda.
HE AmeeraBinKaram, Chairperson and founding member of FoCP, said: “The idea of organising this forum was based on an initiative launched by Her Highness SheikhaJawaher Al Qasimi in September 2014 during a meeting with officials and representatives from NCD organisations in New York. The initiative reflects Her Highness’s commitment to the fight against NCD’s on the global level, as well as her realization of the importance of creating a global platform, supported by scientific facts, studies and research. The forum will also offer all civil society organizations a platform to unify their efforts in the fight against these contagious diseases.”
BinKaram added: “Non-communicable diseases (NCD), such as cancer, heart dis-ease,diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease are the leading cause of mortality in the world. This invisible epidemic hinders the economic development of many countries, affecting individuals, families and governments. Economic losses resulting from NCDs are expected to rise to $30 trillion. Therefore, this issue requires unified international effort in the fight against them, and the urgency to find applicable solutions and common work frameworks in the world, specifically in low and middle class-income countries.” BinKaram added that the forum seeks to adopt a Sharjah Declaration, supported by global expertise and capabilities, in the fight against NCDs and curb their negative consequences on communities all over the world.The event will provide a platform for knowledge exchange, capacity building, priority setting, and facilitating joining initiatives across the alliances. The forum will engage NCD organisations and experts in a range of sessions to discuss the most important issues related to non-contagious diseases and ways to fight them. It will also highlight research, case studies on former experiences, alongside work-shops on best practice to maintain good health and the prevention of NCDs.
Seeking to capitalise on recent commitments by world leaders to prevent and reduce death and disability from NCDs, Mr José Luis Castro, Chair of the NCD Alliance, said: “The Global NCD Alliance Forum is taking place at a pivotal moment in time. Following years of collective efforts, NCDs are firmly featured as a priority in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Now more so than ever, there is a strong political mandate for action on NCD prevention and control. The Global NCD Alliance Forum will convene the NCD civil society movement at this important junc-ture, and seek to equip advocates for this next phase of the global NCD response. We believe that a vibrant and strong civil society movement capable of delivering its three primary roles – advocacy, accountability, and the direct provision of NCD ser-vices – is a fundamental strategy to reaching the global target of a one third reduc-tion in premature mortality from NCDs by 2030.”
Hosting the first Global NCD Alliance Forum in Sharjah adds to the cadre of initia-tives launched by SheikhaJawaher to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients. Among them is the Friends of Cancer Patients, which was founded in 1999 with the aim of spreading awareness about all types of cancer, the importance of early detection and offering financial support for treatment to all patients in the UAE who need it. FoCP was able to provide financial and moral support to more than 1380 male and female cancer patients in the UAE. In May 2015, Her Highness SheikhaJawaher launched the International Childhood Cancer Fund in collaboration with the Union for International Cancer Control to support children with cancer and save the lives of children with cancer worldwide. Her Highness donated one million dollars through the “Big Heart Foundation”, to be the fund’s first revenue.
In June 2013, the UICC named SheikhaJawaher as the official International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration (WCD) and the first WCD International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer in the world in recognition of her outstanding efforts in supporting policies aimed at boosting the fight against cancer. It also recognises her initiatives launched to raise awareness among community members about the seriousness of the disease and the need for early detection.Founded in 2009, the NCD Alliance is a unique civil society network uniting 2,000 civil society organisations in more than 170 countries dedicated to improving NCD prevention and control worldwide. The Alliance aims to unify global efforts to re-duce mortality caused by non-communicable diseases by 25% by 2025 and mobi-lise international support to implement NCDs as a health priority in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.To achieve these goals, the Allianceconvenes the NCD civil society community, provides thought leadership on global policy, sets priorities for the global NCD response, and mobilizes civil society action at national and regional levels.