Abstract Ref Number = APCP190
NCD Child’s Approach to Advocacy: Putting Children and Family First
Jonathan D Klein
NCD Child Immediate PastChair, Governing Council
Strategic Advisor on NCDs, International Pediatric Association
Professor and Senior Associate Head Chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago
Millions of children and adolescents live with or are at risk for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs include cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Injury and mental health issues also contribute to NCDs in young people. NCD prevention for pediatrics must include risk factors like tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure, malnutrition and obesity (including both unhealthy diets and physical inactivity,) toxic stress and mental health, harmful use of alcohol or other drugs, and intentional and unintentional injury. Many of these behaviors begin during childhood and adolescence, contributing to chronic disease and complications for individuals and families. Children and adolescents with diabetes, heart disease, cancer and lung disease require access to care and appropriate treatment, and need access to medicines and technology and service systems that are different from those for adults with chronic illness. In addition, children with special health care needs require access to health care and other community services to achieve their potential.
Children in low and middle-income countries often die because of late diagnosis or lack of access to adequate treatment, or suffer long-term disabilities from chronic conditions not adequately managed. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target for NCDs (Goal 3.4, “By 2030, reduce by 1/3rd premature mortality from NCDs through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being”) does not include an age restriction. But the World Health Organization has defines premature NCD death as specific to ages 30-70 years, and this does not address the full burden of disease. Half of adult NCDs begin in childhood, and most behavioral risks for NCDs begin in adolescence. Each year, 40 million people die from NCDs, 80% in low and middle income countries. Addressing this burden sustainably requires prevention. To prevent NCDs and maximize healthy life, interventions must include adequate vaccination, healthy nutrition in childhood, protection from tobacco and secondhand smoke exposure, and promotion of healthy pregnancies. This fall, the UN will hold a High-Level Meeting on NCDs. This provides an opportunity for countries to commit to strategies to address this worldwide public health and development crisis, and to align NCD interventions with a true life-course approach to prevention and treatment for all children, adolescents and families – the existing population-based maternal and child health programs.
NCD Child is a global multi-stakeholder coalition, championing the rights and needs of children, adolescents, and youth living with, at risk of developing, or affected by NCDs. NCD Child is committed to the prevention of NCDs in children and adolescents, and to the treatment and palliation, care and support, protection, and participation of children and adolescents affected by NCDs throughout the life-course. In partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which provides secretariat support to NCD Child, and the International Pediatric Association (IPA), a global organization of child health clinical organizations, NCD Child is leading a series of activities to call attention to child and adolescent NCD issues and highlight the discrepancies between the recent global commitment to a life-course approach to NCDs and current global goals and recommendations for health. NCD Child has been active in global advocacy events and in training champions for child health and NCDs among clinical and other civil society organizations for several years. Recent activities include: sponsoring and participating in high-level advocacy events at the WHO and UN meeetings; conducting a series of champions’ workshops to engage country-level teams to work on children and adolescent NCDs and increase national pediatric societies and other stakeholders’ commitment to NCDs; and, supporting a Youth Engagement Strategy which advances young adult participation in all aspects of NCD Childs’ activities.