Sharjah: The second Global NCD (Non-Communicable Diseases) Alliance Forum will kick off in Sharjah on Saturday, bringing together more than 80 experts from around the world.

The forum, under the theme ‘Stepping up the Pace for NCDs: Making 2018 count’, will have the most respected NCD health experts discuss strategies for reducing the incidence of non-communicable diseases which are responsible for more than 40 million deaths globally each year.

His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, founder and patron of Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), will attend the event.

Taking place on December 9-11 at the Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre, the forum will welcome more than 350 delegates and 80 expert speakers, including scientists, medical pioneers, support groups, NGOs and civil societies from 68 countries and across five continents, Sharjah-based Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) announced.

The NCDs — mainly cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes — account for 68 per cent of global mortality, or two out of every three deaths, according to figures.

The three-day forum is being held under the patronage of Shaikha Jawaher. Organisers, NCD Alliance, has chosen the emirate to host the first two editions of the event.

Some of the most respected experts in the field of NCDs speaking at the event include Princess Dina Mired, president-elect of the Union for International Cancer Control, who was the first Arab and non-medical professional to have been elected to such a prestigious global post; and Sir George Alleyne, a medical graduate of the University of the West Indies who worked under Professor John Waterlow in the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit at UWI.

Also speaking will be José Luis Castro, an expert in global health, organisational development and project implementation, who spent 27 years working on tuberculosis, tobacco control and non-communicable diseases; Katie Dain, chief executive officer of the NCD Alliance, who has been a part of the team since its founding in 2009; and Dr Tom Frieden, one of the world’s leading public health experts and president and chief executive officer of ‘Resolve to Save Lives’, a $225 million, five-year initiative housed at Vital Strategies.

The first day will see the opening ceremony by Shaikh Sultan, which will then be followed by the first plenary session on ‘The Global NCD Response: Taking Stock, Reviewing Progress, and Looking Ahead to the 2018 UN High-level Meeting’.