Sharjah Ruler calls for promoting healthy lifestyles to safeguard people’s health

Photo: WAM

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has commended the efforts of institutions and societies concerned with combating non-communicable disease, NCD, under the leadership of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Muhammed Al Qasimi, Patron of the Global NCD Alliance Forum, to prevent the risk of these diseases and save the lives of millions of people around the world.

In his welcome address at the inauguration ceremony of the third Global Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance, NCDA, forum on Sunday in Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan also stressed on the need to unite community efforts to safeguard people’s health and wellbeing by promoting healthy habits, rally against bad lifestyle choices and introducing effective vaccinations.

The event was graced by H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, Founder and Royal Patron of FOCP, International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control, UICC, International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC.

H.H. Sheikh Sultan said,'' More than 18 million cases of cancer were discovered in 2018 and we have lost 900,600 men and women to it. According to World Health Organisation, there will be a 60 percent increase in cancer incidences in the next 20 years, with 81 percent cases surfacing in nations that have a lower level of socio-economic development, and whose health infrastructure and living conditions need significant improvements."

"However, in the past few years, there has been tremendous development towards finding a cure for cancer. We thank torchbearers like Sheikha Jawaher bint Muhammed Al Qasimi, and all the delegates attending this forum for their tireless efforts, which make it possible for the world to identify such fatal non-communicable diseases in their early stages and treat them effectively," he added.

The three-day forum, organised by the FOCP in partnership with the global NCD Alliance, NCDA, is convening 400 guests and attendees from 80 countries across six continents, including key civil society stakeholders, health experts and academics and researchers to hold key discussions on strengthening the global response against non-communicable diseases, NCDs, at a time when NCDs are responsible for 41 million or 71 percent of all deaths worldwide.

It was also attended by Madam Sawsan Jafar, Chairperson of the FOCP board of directors, and Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention.

During the event, Sawsan Jafar was honoured with "Sheikha Jawaher Medal for Contribution and Excellence" by Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi.

She thanked Jafar for guiding FOCP’s efforts in cancer control and healthcare years, and for leading the non-profit’s collaborations with members of the global NCD civil society to raise awareness around NCDs, galvanise stakeholder action and support efforts to reverse the NCD epidemic.

Delivering his inaugural speech, Owais said, "It is due to the leading efforts of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi that Sharjah was named a Child-Friendly City in 2018 by the UNICEF and the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2019. The future holds more achievements, and we thank these two visionaries for all their successful human-centric endeavours for development."

Sawsan Jafar emphasised, "To tackle the growing burden of NCDs, we need a united whole-of-society approach, with a strong and vibrant civil society. Sharjah has been working hand-in-hand with the NCD Alliance to encourage stronger participation at this key global meeting for NCD civil society, and the facts speak for themselves.

"Forty-three national and regional alliances participated in the first Global NCD Alliance forum in 2015. I am proud to say that at this forum, we have 65 alliances lending their participation and support.

"As a city that puts its people and their health first and pursues a human-centric strategy for development, it is only fitting for Sharjah to host this most important international forum on non-communicable diseases," she added.

Todd Harper, President of NCD Alliance, said, "The third Global NCDA forum will build on the successes of the first two editions by mobilising key civil society stakeholders and consolidating the forum as the key global meeting for the NCD civil society. Since its inception in 2009, the NCD Alliance has been a major catalyst in securing political priority for NCDs at the global level."

He added, "This year, the NCD forum will focus on action enablers, translating solutions and what works in local and national contexts. It will also offer a civil society perspective and take a political economy lens on the key catalysts for change that can bridge the major gaps in the NCD response."

Speaking at the opening of the forum, Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance, said, "This forum illustrates the diversity and vibrancy of the movement, encompassing NGOs, youth organisations, academia, faith-based organisations, and professional societies, to name just a few. It also highlights a broader shift within our movement and this shift in focus is bearing fruit. By putting people first in our global advocacy work, governments for the first time made concrete commitments at the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs to meaningful engage civil society and people living."

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