Showcasing success in NCDs’ combat


GENEVA: Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), the Sharjah-based cancer support group, showcased the UAE’s expertise in fighting Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in front of an international audience when Ameera BinKaram, President of the Board of Trustees of FoCP delivered a key note speech at an NCD Alliance Partners dinner in Geneva, Switzerland.

The event, which was a major side activity of the 69th World Health Assembly (WHA) taking place in Geneva from May 23-28, was held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, founder and Royal Patron of Friends of Cancer Patients, Patron of the Non Communicable Disease Alliance forum.

The dinner was the first of two WHA side activities that BinKaram had been invited to, to share the United Arab Emirates and Sharjah’s expertise on the NCDs topic, which are lifestyle linked diseases and conditions that include heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Also participating at the function were Princess Dina Mired, Director General of King Hussein Cancer Foundation, Jordan; Dr. Jose Luis Castro, Chair of the NCD Alliance and Sir George Alleyne, Director Emeritus, Pan America Health Organisation, Katie Dain, Executive Director, NCD Alliance, Dr. Bente Mikkelsen, Head of WHO GCM, WHO, Dr. Hussein Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Centers and Clinics MOH UAE, Dr. Cary Adams, CEO, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

The NCD Alliance dinner provided an opportunity to discuss the outcomes of the first ever Global NCD Alliance Forum, which took place in Sharjah on November 13-15, 2015 and included the “Sharjah Declaration”, a major civil society commitment to accelerate action and increase accountability to prevent and reduce deaths, disability, stigma and discrimination caused by lifestyle diseases.

Mired said, “Our work in combatting NCDs is far from over and that is why translating the NCD conversation from global to local action is key to breaking down obstacles and finding solutions. The hosting of the first ever Global NCD Alliance Forum in Sharjah last November was one such important initiative. The forum was the first time for over 40 national and regional NCD alliances from across the world to meet in our part of the world and was successful in reinforcing the unmet need for NCD prevention and control in Africa and the Middle East. This event would not have been possible without the immense efforts of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi. I praise her unstinting support for the NCD Alliance Forum.”

BinKaram’s speech at the NCD Alliance Partners’ dinner highlighted the role that Sheikha Jawaher played in combating NCDs, including her leading activities under the Big Heart Foundation, an initiative that supports children with cancer in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, as well as Jordan through its collaboration with the King Hussein Cancer Centre.

“Sheikha Jawaher has pioneered the fight against cancer and non-communicable diseases in the United Arab Emirates since 1999 by founding Friends of Cancer Patients society, extending financial and emotional support to cancer patients, raising public awareness about the risk and symptoms of cancer and the importance of early detection, providing the best methods of treatment and care for patients, as well as care for their families locally, regionally and internationally,” said BinKaram.