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Healthy Caribbean Coalition - New Commonwealth film highlights fight against spread of Non-communicable Diseases

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The Commonwealth Secretariat has produced the first of a series of advocacy DVDs on youth and Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) ahead of September’s United Nations High Level Meeting on NCDs.

The films aim to raise awareness about NCDs and young people across the Commonwealth and to advocate for an accelerated response by policy makers in preventing and controlling the rise of NCDs in this population group.

Copies of ‘Youth and Non-communicable Diseases in the Commonwealth’ are being made available to Commonwealth associations, global health organisations and the media. NCDs, which include diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and cancers are largely preventable, since their main risk factors of tobacco use, unhealthy diets, harmful use of alcohol and physical inactivity can all be modified. Despite this, NCDs have reached epidemic proportions across the world.

“Childhood and adolescence are crucial stages in determining later life health outcomes. Today, children and young people are growing up in countries undergoing rapid economic, epidemiological, nutritional and demographic transitions. As a consequence, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their determinants are rising,” explained Dr Sylvia Anie, Director responsible for Health at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

“The links between NCDs and the most vulnerable in society, including the poor and the young, are striking and efforts to prevent NCDs within populations can be particularly effective if targeted towards youth,” she said.

The United Nations High-Level Meeting follows a global campaign championed by the Commonwealth and partner organisations to raise awareness about the “silent epidemic” of NCDs.

A ‘Commonwealth Statement on Action to Combat Non-Communicable Diseases’, which among other things also called for a UN summit, was adopted by Heads of Government in 2009. The statement led to the development of the Commonwealth Secretariat Road Map on Non-Communicable Diseases, which was accepted by ministers of health at the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM) in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2010. This year’s CHMM, held in May, addressed the theme ‘NCDs – A Priority for the Commonwealth’.

The film, with technical input from the UK Young Professional Chronic Disease Network, features case studies from London, Nairobi and New Delhi, as well as messages from the Commonwealth Secretary-General, HE Kamalesh Sharma, and Sir George Alleyne, Director Emeritus of the Pan American Health Organisation, who has been a prominent figure in the global response to the NCD epidemic.

The film was officially launched on Tuesday 2 August at the Secretariat’s headquarters in London, UK. It brought together partners and stakeholders to promote accelerated NCD prevention efforts for young people across the Commonwealth.

It will be distributed across Commonwealth networks and the wider global health community as an advocacy tool to inform and influence both health policy and the lifestyle decisions made by young people.

To receive a copy of ‘Youth and Non-communicable Diseases in the Commonwealth’, please send requests to tv@commonwealth.int.

Watch the film here http://bcove.me/zaz0olpq