PHI co-sponsoring conference on NCDs in children

Public Health Institute, together with Caring and Living as Neighbors and Global Health Council, will convene a conference on "NCDs in Children and Adolescents" during March 19-20.  The conference has been sponsored by the Medtronic FoundationLIVESTRONG and the California Endowment, which is also providing the conference venue in Oakland. 

The conference is a direct follow up to the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs, held in New York in September 2011.  The present conference is intended to bring into focus the discrete and unmet need for information about NCDs that relate specifically to children and adolescents.  The World Health Organization estimates that in 2002, some 1.2 million people below the age of 20 died from a non communicable disease.  However, this estimate -- similar to many having to do with the subject of NCDs in children and adolescents -- is based upon incomplete information. The conference's overall goal is to bring into sharp focus the special issues that are faced by children and adolescents, and the need for much more study about this important topic.

The conference is expected to attract more than 80 participants from the United States, Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.  The UN Secretary General, the World Health Organization and UNICEF are sending representatives.  Participants also include representatives of private sector organizations, advocacy groups, health providers and academic institutions.

The meeting plans to adopt a version of the Oakland Statement on NCDs in Children and Adolescents, a draft of which can be found here: Oakland%20Statement%20on%20NCDs%20in%20Children%20and%20Adolescents.... Other topics to be considered include: lessons from the field, access to essential medicines, learning from other global health movements, health systems strengthening, and effective prevention strategies.

A number of Public Health Institute staff are participating in the meeting, including President and CEO Mary Pittman, DrPH, who will give welcoming comments.  PHI's Vice President for Policy and Advocacy Matthew Marsom will participate in a panel discussion about NCD prevention in children and adolescents.  Also participating are Thomas Greenfield, PhD, and Madhabika Nayak, PhD of the Alcohol Research Group.  In addtion, Rupal Sanghvi, MPH will speak about design of healthful environments for children and adolescents in NCD prevention, and Anne Kelsey Lamb, MPH, will discuss her work in the Regional Asthma Management and Prevention Initiative to help Californians prevent and control asthma in at-risk communities.  Steve Kempster, MPH, will discuss the Network for a Healthy California - Children's Power Play! Campaign, which seeks to empower children to make healthier food choices and live more active lives. In addition to helping organize the conference, I am moderating several of the sessions.

As one of the first public events to follow last September's High Level Meeting, the conference could have an impact on the international community's deliberations about goals and targets in the battle against NCDs.  As Caring and Living as Neighbors President Kate Armstrong, MD, has said, "children and adolescents risk systematic exclusion from the NCD discourse unless specific efforts are made by the international community to ensure meaningful integration within policies, goals and targets.”


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