For the first time, NCD Child brought together young people, delegates and civil society organizations at its regional advocacy workshop to discuss non-communicable disease (NCD) priorities in children and adolescents in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). The workshop focused on four themes: prevention and risk factors, management and treatment, special considerations and platforms and monitoring and evaluation/accountability.
The workshop, in partnership with WHO EMRO and Ministry of Health (MOH) Oman, was a three-day in-person event that took place in Muscat, Oman and was hosted by the Sultanate of Oman, represented by MOH. The event welcomed over 50 participants from over 13 countries, and special emphasizes was placed on young people who shared their perspectives, journeys and ideas on what meaningful youth advocacy and engagement really means so that their unique needs are met when it comes to addressing NCDs.
“I was very excited at the opportunity to meet the young leaders from the Eastern Mediterranean Region to discuss how they can enhance prevention and control of NCDs and their risk factors among youth,” says Dr. Alafia Samuels, Chair, NCD Child.
Addressing NCDs early on is critical as many risk factors of NCDs happen during childhood. The burden of NCDs among children and adolescents has become an increasing public health concern globally, especially challenging in low and middle-income countries where access to health care and proper interventions remains a barrier.
The mortality rate for children and adolescents in the EMR is the second highest among the WHO regions, coupled with the fact that the 10-19 age group constitutes one-fifth of the population in the EMR, calls for prioritizing children and adolescents health interventions in the region.
“We need to prioritize action to address NCD risk factors at an early age and ensure that children and adolescents are not being left behind,” says Dr. Ahmed Al Mandhari, Regional Director, WHO EMR.”
The workshop also highlighted priorities, barriers and next steps and solutions to addressing NCDs in children and adolescents within specific countries in the EMR and the final results were collated into a ‘Regional Roadmap’. Stay tuned for more on the roadmap!
NCD Child would like to thank the AstraZeneca Young Health Programme for their support of this workshop.
NCD Child would also like to thank Friends of Cancer Patients for their support of the young leaders.