The Lancet Youth Leaders, Chantelle Booysen, Chinwendu Ukachukwu, Claudia Coelho, Kumba Philomena Joe, Damian Juma and Grace Gatera joined youth advocates from across the world for the Global NCD Forum On Children And Youth. Chantelle Booysen shares their experience from the event.
On 25 and 26 March 2019, young leaders from around the world came together in the United Arab Emirates to discuss the future of global advocacy on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevalent in children and young people.
At the forum young leaders had the opportunity to take part in expert-led workshops – Cancer in Focus, Young Health Priorities, and Youth Advocates and Action – encouraging collaboration and engagement.
Young people leading health initiatives in their communities and individuals living with non-communicable diseases talked about the experiences. Globally there are 4 categories of NCDs the World Health Organization reports have the highest rates of mortality: heart disease, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases. This year, however, there was a notable focus on the effects of mental health on these diseases, as major risk factor affecting mortality rates.
The youth leaders for The Lancet Commission for Global Mental Health presented the My Mind Our Humanity campaign as an example for how to mobilise a global youth campaign online.
On the first day, the Lancet Youth Leaders challenged the organisers and delegates to incorporate physical activity into the conference-style. On the second day, the organizers gave them the stage to lead a “walk the talk” morning dance session in the main plenary session and got everyone to move and smile while feeling energized to take on the day!
The Lancet Youth Leaders highlighted the role of preventative interventions. Delegates welcomed initiatives like social advocacy campaigns to eliminate stigma and peer support networks.
The forum wrapped up with a universal declaration, which highlighted seven commitments:
- The lasting impact on health and family
- Acknowledging positive change
- Recognizing participation of young people
- Promoting evidence-based developments
- Universal Health Coverage
- Addressing family health literacy
- Strengthening advocacy.
The next forum is planned for 2020 and the Lancet Youth Leaders are looking forward to keeping the debates and conversations alive, relevant and seeing action in our respective communities.
About the Author
Chantelle Booysen, Youth Leader for The Lancet Commission for Global Mental Health – South Africa