NCD Alliance a great platform for children too!
CLAN is very excited by the work of the NCD Alliance, which is dedicated to putting Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) on the global agenda leading up to the UN Summit on NCDs planned for September 2011. The NCD Alliance brings together four major federations (logos below) representing four priority chronic diseases: cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes. In a recent Lancet Series, the federation spokespersons warned:
"If governments and aid agencies continue to ignore this threat, we will sleepwalk into a future in which healthy people will be in a minority, obese and unhealthy children die before their parents, and economic development and already vulnerable health systems are overwhelmed. Non-communicable diseases have no borders or boundaries - they are the world's number one killer and devastate the bottom billion and G20 countries alike."
Of course NCDs are, by definition, as relevant to children as they are adults - not only in terms of our responsibility to care for children who are currently living with chronic health conditions such as cancer, diabetes (and other endocrine conditions), heart disease and chronic respiratory diseases (like asthma), but also as a focus for prevention - children are the adults of tomorrow, and an equitable, intergenerational, lifecycle approach to prevention is vital. As a global community we must ensure not only that there is adequate capacity of health systems in low-middle income countries to effectively manage chronic health conditions in children now, but that at a broader multisectoral and global level we are making every effort to reduce the likelihood of all children from developing chronic disease in the future. To do this, it will be essential that we consider the full spectrum of the Social Determinants of Health for adults and children alike.
Indeed, until we tackle these important issues, stories like Mariam's ( shared here on the NCD Alliance web-site) will continue to play out every day in resource-poor countries. It's essential we start to think about child health in resource-poor countries as being more than just acute illness management and communicable disease control. The NCD Alliance offers a terrific vehicle for the global health community to broaden its approach to child health, and ensure the global NCD agenda does not forget the children.
Powerless and vulnerable today, the children lucky enough to survive will be our adults of tomorrow... they will be our living message into a future we will not see.
Let's make the message we send forth strong, healthy and happy.
Some organisations committed to helping children who are living with NCDs in LMICs and/or integrating children within the NCD discourse include:
• Atfaal Welfare Society – improving the lives of children living with diabetes and other endocrine conditions in Pakistan.
• Child Lung Health Division of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease – focused on health services that care for children with asthma and severe lung diseases in low-income countries.
• Children’s HeartLink - partnering with health care centers in underserved regions to strengthen their capacity to diagnose and treat congenital or acquired heart disease in children
• CLAN (Caring & Living As Neighbours) – promoting a strategic grassroots, community development framework for action that supports children living with chronic health conditions in resource-poor countries.
• St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization.
• GPED (Global Paediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes) representing members from six major regional paediatric endocrinology societies worldwide, GPED is focused on building the capacity of health professionals to care for children with endocrine conditions (including diabetes) in low-income countries.
• Heart to Heart International Children’s Medical Alliance – training physicians internationally in advanced cardiology and cardiac surgery so all children born with heart defects have access to modern heart care.
• International Diabetes Federation - The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization of over 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries. It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and those at risk. The Federation has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950. IDF’s mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.
• International Insulin Foundation - provides technical support to improve access to diabetes care and medications in the world’s poorest countries.
• International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR / Childhood Cancer) - building capacity for cancer research and treatment in developing countries.
• International Pediatric Association (IPA) - an alliance of organizations, with 160 national, regional or sub-speciality pediatric societies as members, all working with other partners to promote physical, mental, and social health for all children, to achieve the highest standards of health for newborns, children, and adolescents in all countries of the world.
• International Society of Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) - organizing paediatric diabetes teams from more than a hundred countries, to improve advocacy, education and research on diabetes in children and adolescents
• Life for a Child - of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), supporting the care of almost 8000 children living with diabetes in 27 countries worldwide.
• My Child Matters of the UICC (Childhood Cancer) - building local capacity to reduce inequities in childhood cancer survival in selected resource-constrained countries.
• Partners in Health – providing a preferential option for the poor in health care, by partnering with poor communities to combat disease and poverty.
• Regional Asthma Management & Prevention (RAMP) – Working together to reduce the burden of asthma.
• Save The Children Intl - inspiring breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.
• The Public Health Institute - promotes health, wellbeing, and quality of life through research, training, and community building.
• The Young Professional Chronic Disease Network - harnessing the talents and energies of the next generation of health leaders to collaborate with established stakeholders in the field to battle NCDs
• World Child Cancer - saving lives and reducing suffering associated with childhood cancer in developing countries by providing world-class expertise, sustained guidance and essential funding.
• World Heart Federation - focusing on heart disease in children.
If you have an interest in working on issues relating to Children and NCDs ahead of the UN High Level Meetings on NCDs, please contact NCD Alliance Common Interest Group Member, Dr Kate Armstrong of CLAN (Caring & Living As Neighbours) at email@example.com
If you would like to Tweet about Children and NCDs, please use #NCDChild so that we birds of a feather can flock together!
1. W.P.T. James (2005) - The policy challenge of coexisting undernutrition and nutrition-related chronic diseases. Maternal & Child Nutrition Volume 1, Issue 3, pages 197–203, July 2005
2. Focus on NCDs in Lancet November 2010 - reaffirms need for a greater focus on children within the NCD discourse
3. WHO Website has section on NCDs and Mental Health