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Patients need social justice as much as treatment, forum hears

Second Global NCD Alliance Forum calls for human rights and action on non-communicable diseases

Gulf News

Sharjah: People suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) need human rights and social justice as much as treatment, the Global NCD Alliance Forum heard on Sunday in Sharjah.

A panel discussion highlighted the ‘Our Views, Our Voices’ initiative that led to the ‘Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs’. The agenda calls for action in: human rights and social justice; prevention, treatment, care, and support; and meaningful involvement.

For the second edition of the forum, Sharjah-based Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) welcomed more than 350 delegates and 80 expert speakers from 68 countries.

Speaking at the event, Anne Lise Ryel, secretary-general of the Norwegian Cancer Society and Global Advisory Committee member of Our Views, Our Voices in Norway, said: “We need to promote the voice of the people living with NCDs and the attention needs to reach the very highest levels — there is too little action. In addition to research and data, we need to put a face to NCDs — it’s about people and, behind the millions who are suffering, we have captured their voices.”

The forum, which the NCD Alliance has chosen to hold in Sharjah for its first two editions, is held under the patronage of Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, patron of the Global NCD Alliance, founder and patron of FoCP and International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control, International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer.

Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance in the UK, told the delegates that the UN High-Level Meeting planned for September 2018 on NCDs “is a chance for us to gain commitments from governments and Heads of State and equally as important, hold them accountable in terms of action and time bands for their progress”.

Dr Kent Buse, chief of strategic policy directions at UNAIDS in Switzerland, said: “Numbers are needed, but noise is also necessary. Remember, it is the wheel that squeaks which gets the oil and we need a multi-sectorial approach through civil servants, civil societies, parliamentarians, ministers, media and many more to come together and give us the right to be heard. Today is International Human Rights Day and it is those rights and injustice which binds us all together.”

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