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Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, UAE, is among the line-up of speakers at the third annual Non-Communicable Diseases Forum Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Over 400 delegates from 80 countries are expected to attend the third ‘Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Forum’ taking place in Sharjah from February 9 to 11.

NCDs (such as such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes) that cause seven in 10 deaths globally every year, are acknowledged by health experts to be one of the most urgent health challenges of the 21st century.

In the Middle East and North Africa region, NCDs account for 74 per cent of all deaths.

The forum is organised by UAE-based Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP) in partnership with the global NCD Alliance (NCDA) under the theme ‘Bridging the Gap’.

Sharjah’s efforts in reducing the NCD burden stems from the patronage of Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and Royal Patron of FOCP, International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC.

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Dr Sawson Jafar, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Friends of Cancer Patients Image Credit: Supplied

NCDs are also one of the leading causes of preventable illness and related disability worldwide. NCDs led to 41 million deaths in 2018 due to high tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity, amongst other risk factors.

The three-day forum will be attended by over 100 representatives from national and regional NCD Alliances as well as renowned NCD and general health experts, who will partake in discussions and take part in four plenary sessions and 18 workshops.

More than 40 speakers will be addressing the five main plenaries to bridge major gaps in the global NCD response and prevention. Amongst the line-up of speakers are Zoleka Mandela, Child Health Global Ambassador, FIA Foundation; Sir Trevor Hassell President, Healthy Caribbean Coalition; Board Member, NCD Alliance, Barbados; and Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, UAE.

Dr Sawsan Jafar, Chairman of the Board of Directors, FoCP; and Katie Dain, CEO of NCD Alliance, will also share their expertise at the forum.

The NCD Alliance is a civil society network of 2,000 organisations in 170 countries, dedicated to improving NCD prevention and control worldwide.

The forum previously witnessed the launch of the first ‘Sharjah Award for Excellence in NCD Civil Society Action’, which is granted to organisations in recognition of their efforts to reduce the incidence of NCDs, according to the initiatives mentioned in the Sharjah Declaration on NCDs.