The Power of Art

On World Health Day, April 7, 2018, NCD Child invited young people from all over the world to illustrate through drawings or videos how non-communicable diseases (NCDs) affect their lives and why youth voices are critical for preventing and managing NCDs. More than 70% percent of all deaths worldwide are caused by NCDs, several of which -  such as asthma and diabetes -  are treatable. Half of those deaths are associated with habits and behaviors developed at an early age. Giving young people an opportunity to engage in the global agenda to reverse these statistics was at the core of creating the art contest.

The NCD Child Global Art Contest, which was supported by a grant from Novo Nordisk, was launched with the theme ‘Health For Youth = #HealthForAll’.  More than 65 artists, ages 13-21, from 25 countries accepted the challenge and proved that youth voices are loud, clear, and ready to make sure their healthcare needs and ideas are not denied.

In July twelve artists were awarded. Their drawings and videos are featured on the NCD Child website. In September, the four 1st place winners – coming from India, Romania and the United States – were invited to take part in a side-event organized at the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York. Here, their drawings and videos were showcased live, and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, President and CEO of Novo Nordisk, awarded the winning artists.


Taking NCDs in Youth to the Highest Level

The event, which was chaired by NCD youth advocate and NCD Child Governance Board member Victoria Watson, called attention to the importance of involving youth when addressing NCDs. One of the keynote speakers was 14-year old Beatrice Marciari, who bravely shared her touching personal experience of living with several NCDs and the difficulties she had faced with gaining access to the right medicine. Beatrice stressed that she wished to be an active voice for children and young people, who were less fortunate than herself.

Luisa Brumana, Regional Health Advisor at the UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean Office, talked about the importance of giving children and young adults the space to tell the people, who develop and manage health programs, what they think, feel and need. Engaging young adults in policy development to curb the rise of NCDs is one of the ways forward, according to Luisa Brumana.

Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen from Novo Nordisk further emphasized the importance of putting words into action. Acknowledging that managing a chronic condition like diabetes takes more than medicine, Novo Nordisk set up its Changing Diabetes® in Children program in 2009. For 10 years, the program driven by global and local actors has created awareness about – and provided care for - children and young people with type 1 diabetes in low- and middle-income countries.

NCD Child is proud to support young leaders, who are dedicated global health advocates for the prevention, treatment and management of NCDs. Like our world leaders, they agree it is time to deliver and be responsive to the needs of the Next Generation!