On the concluding day of the third edition of NCD Alliance Global Forum, experts, policymakers, and leaders from the healthcare sector gathered to discuss practical and workable solutions for effective global response to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The day started with a plenary session initiated a dialogue around enhancing accountability for all people with NCDs through transformative and inclusive governance.

The session was chaired by Dr Douglas Webb, Team Leader, Health and Innovative Financing at the HIV, Health and Development Group, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United States, and the keynote speech for the session was delivered by Brenda Killen, Member of the Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman, Every Child, Every Adolescent (IAP); Director of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Secretariat, Switzerland.

The speech was followed by panel discussion attended by Dr Beatriz Champagne, Director of Advocacy, Inter-American Heart Foundation; Coordinator, Healthy Latin America Coalition, Chair, Advocacy Committee, World Heart Federation, United States; Professor Adnan Hyder Senior Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Global Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, United States; Pierre Cooke Jnr, Youth Technical Adviser, Healthy Caribbean Coalition; Barbados National Youth Parliament, Barbados; and Dr Jayasree K Iyer, Executive Director, Access to Medicines Foundation, Netherlands.

The Forum also hosted a number of workshops that highlighted various issues related to NCDs, which are considered as one of the 21st century most important heath and development concerns.

Call for sustainable investments:

In a workshop titled ‘Sustainable investment, smarter financing for NCDs: The power of civil society in driving change’ by Health Finance Institute, United Nations Development Programme, Joep Lange Institute, and Framework Convention Alliance, the participants explored how bridging the gap on NCDs will not be possible without addressing the resource gap and advancing on sustainable financing for national responses.

It was attended by Bekki Field, Senior Programme Lead, International Cancer Prevention Programme, Cancer Research UK, United Kingdom; Dr Andrea Feigl, Executive Director, Health Finance Institute, United States; Dr Douglas Webb, Team Leader, Health and Innovative Financing at the HIV, Health and Development Group, United Nations Development Programme, United States; Leslie Rae Ferat, Managing Director, Framework Convention Alliance, Canada; Femke Smeets, Head of Business and Partnership Development, PharmAccess Group- Joep Lange Institute, Amsterdam; Joshua Makubu, Advocacy Committee Member, Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled; Our Views, Our Voices advocate, Ghana NCD Alliance, Ghana; and Ms Amy Ndao Fall, Global Health Medical Lead for Africa, China & Emerging Markets GH Medical Affairs, Sanofi, France.

Exploring the role of technology and media:

A workshop named ‘Partnering for impact in the SDG era: Saving lives through equitable access to essential NCD medicines and technologies’ by NCD Alliance Supporters Group, was attended by Dr Jayasree K Iyer, Executive Director, Access to Medicines Foundation, Netherlands, Soraya Ramoul, Director, Global Access to Care, Novo Nordisk, Denmark; Andrew Schroeder, Vice President of Research and Analysis, Direct Relief, United States; Dr Gina Agiostratidou, Program Director, Type 1 Diabetes, Helmsley Charitable Trust, United States; Dr Susanne Weissbäcker, Global Head of Access to Medicines, Takeda, Singapore; Helen McGuire, Director, Noncommunicable Diseases Programme, PATH, United States; and Dr Catherine Levy, Global NCD Lead, Global Health, Sanofi, France.

During the workshop, the speakers talked about the promise of Universal Health Care and how it still remains a distant reality in many countries, despite numerous political commitments and targets being set at the global level.

Apart from support from civil society the Forum also highlighted the roles other industries and sections of society can play in spreading awareness regarding NCDS. One such topic was discussed during the workshop titled ‘Think like a broadcaster: How to create compelling stories and increase media attention for NCDs’ by lead BBC StoryWorks. The interactive workshop examined how we can craft impactful stories and give voice to the global burden of NCDs, to shift the dial on prevention and control. Delegates during this workshop explored how content can be made more relevant to the audiences we should be reaching and how, in a crowded and constantly evolving digital environment, our content can have both resonance and reach.

The workshop was moderated by Simon Shelley, Global Director of Programme Partnerships, BBC Global News, United Kingdom; Gemma Jennings, Partner Manager, Programme Partnerships, BBC Global News, United Kingdom; and was attended by Charles Woodward, Global Head of Programme Partnerships, BBC Global News, United Kingdom; Dr Jean-Luc Eiselé, Chief Executive Officer, World Heart Federation; Board member, NCD Alliance, Switzerland; Mbiydzenyuy Ferdinant Sonyuy, Secretary General, Cameroon Civil Society NCD Alliance, Cameroon, Asha Samaroo, First Vice President, Diabetes Association of Trinidad and Tobago Our Views, Our Voices Advocate, Trinidad and Tobago NCD Alliance, Trinidad and Tobago; Josefino De Guzman, President, PsorPhil/Psoriasis Association of Philippines; Treasurer, International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA), Philippines; and Jimena Márquez Donaher, Communications Director, NCD Alliance, Spain.

Advocacy and Strategies - How to bridge the gaps:

During ‘Bridging sectors: Broadening coalitions for NCD advocacy’ workshop led by ACT Promoção da Saúde, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, delegates focussed on building coalitions for effective advocacy. This workshop featured distinguished speakers including Mena El-Turky, Associate Director, Advocacy, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, United States; Paula Johns, Executive Director, ACT Promoção da Saúde; Board Member, NCD Alliance, Brazil; Labram Musah, National Coordinator, Ghana NCD Alliance, Ghana; and David Mulabi, Chief Executive Officer, East Africa NCD Alliance, Uganda.

Additionally, a workshop titled ‘David versus Goliath: Strategies for managing conflict of interest and countering industry interference in public health policy’ tacked the issue of repeated interference in public health and environment policy at global and national levels by the “unhealthy commodity industries” – namely big tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy food and fossil fuels (linked to the key modifiable risk factors for NCDs) – repeatedly interfering in public health  and environment policy at global and national levels.

Held by Healthy Caribbean Coalition, University of Edinburgh, Coalición Latinoamérica Saludable/ Healthy Latin America Coalition, the workshop was attended by Professor Jeff Collin, Professor of Global Health Policy, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Sir Trevor Hassell, President, Healthy Caribbean Coalition; Board Member, NCD Alliance, Barbados, Øystein Bakke.

Secretary, Global Alcohol Policy Alliance, Sweden, Jan Peloza, Board Member at International Youth Health Organization; Monitoring Committee Member, No Excuse Slovenia, Slovenia; Deborah Chen, Executive Director, Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Board member, NCD Alliance, Jamaica, Dr Beatriz Champagne, Director of Advocacy, InterAmerican Heart Foundation; Coordinator, Healthy Latin America Coalition; Chair, Advocacy Committee, World Heart Federation, United States; and Monika Arora, Executive Director, HRIDAY (Secretariat of Healthy India Alliance); Director, Health Promotion Division and Professor, Public Health Foundation of India, Board member, NCD Alliance, India.

Holding governments accountable for progress in NCD response:

‘Taking the pulse of NCD progress: How to hold governments to account’ by NCD Alliance was an engaging workshop where the speakers sought to inspect why most governments are off-track to meet global targets on NCD prevention and control. The workshop introduced participants to skills and knowledge necessary to leverage existing accountability tools including the NCD Alliance’s latest Accountability Toolkit. It was moderated by Nina Renshaw, Policy and Advocacy Director, NCD Alliance, Switzerland; and featured speakers including Leanne Riley, Head of Surveillance, Monitoring and Reporting, Department of Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization, Switzerland; Dr Victoria Pinkney-Atkinson Director, South African NCDs Alliance, South Africa; Ana Larrañaga, Nutrition Chapter Coordinator, Mexico Salud-Hable; General Director, Salud Crítica, Mexico; and Manjusha Chatterjee, Capacity Development Consultant, NCD Alliance, United Kingdom.

The third edition of the Global NCDA Forum concluded with some important decisions, release of some ground-breaking reports, and in-depth discussions around NCDs and the preparedness to handle them effectively across the globe. The Forum successfully highlighted the emirate’s mandate of turning the spotlight on and galvanising action for the NCD epidemic as an urgent health and development challenges of the 21st century.