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Published in: 01/07/2016

WHO fosters local, global collaboration to fight NCDs

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In 2012, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular and lung diseases caused more than half of all deaths among those who died before their 70th birthdays. The vast majority of those deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. WHO, through its Global Coordination Mechanism on Noncommunicable Diseases, plays an important role in promoting action between governments, civil society organizations and other players working to improve health by preventing and controlling such diseases.

This photo story highlights how a wide range of organizations are working together in Belize, Jamaica, the Philippines and Uganda as part of WHO-backed efforts to improve North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation on fighting NCDs.

Access to cervical cancer screening.
Candy holds her son in an inner-city community of Belize City, where access for women to cervical cancer screening is a challenge. To overcome this, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, an alliance working with governments and local cancer societies in Belize and Jamaica, is helping improve cervical cancer prevention and control amongst vulnerable, disadvantaged women. Through support from the Australian Direct Aid Programme and UNESCO, civil society organizations in both countries have helped extend the reach of public health services into communities, in turn improving access for the earlier detection of cervical cancer.

Cancer survivor turned community activist.
Guellermina is a cancer survivor turned community activist, who now heads the Toledo Cancer Society in Belize. The Ministry of Health supports collaboration between the regional Healthy Caribbean Coalition and the Belize Cancer Society to educate, screen, and refer to treatment for women at risk of cervical cancer living in remote areas.

Cancer control and prevention.
Elaine survived breast cancer but still fears a recurrence. Here she waits for a follow-up examination organized by the Jamaica Cancer Society in Stewart Mountain. The Society works together with the Jamaican Government and Healthy Caribbean Coalition to promote cancer control and prevention in poor areas. This complements Ministry of Health services at a primary care level for cancer screening.

Women's health.
Nurse Donna Gordon of the Jamaica Cancer Society performs a pap smear in the remote Jamaican village of Stewart Mountain. Her work is part of a community outreach programme to test women for cervical cancer held in a local church. Such events are organized in conjunction with public health education campaigns through radio, television, print and other social media channels.

Sin Tax in the Philippines.
The Philippines Government passed its landmark Sin Tax Reform Law in 2012 in line with requirements under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) to help curb tobacco consumption. The tax aims to raise tobacco prices and provide sustainable financing for Philippines health services. WHO is assessing the use of such innovative financing approaches and recommending ways and means to encourage governments and non-state actors to increase NCD financing.

Sin Tax funds vaccination campaign.
A patient visits the Rosario Reyes Health Center in Manila, Philippines, to receive a free flu vaccination, funded through tobacco tax revenues.

NCD awareness parade.
Mike of the Uganda NCD Alliance leads a parade in a Kampala suburb to raise awareness on the prevention and control of NCDs. The NCD Alliance in Uganda is funded by the Danish NCD Alliance and operates through a well-established collaboration with Uganda’s Ministry of Health. Further support is provided by the Ugandan Parliamentary Forum, WHO and other government and NGO stakeholders. Through this partnership, patient interests are advocated for and people are provided better access to care.

Exercise lowers NCD risk.
A group aerobics session kick-starts a NCD awareness and screening campaign in Kampala, Uganda. This all-day event was organized by the Uganda NCD Alliance to tackle the lack of awareness about NCDs, their prevention, symptoms and control.

Diabetes screening.
The Uganda Diabetes Association provides screening for diabetes for Kampala residents. In 2010, diabetes was the only noncommunicable disease that had a civil society organization in Uganda dedicated to its prevention, detection and control. Through its collaboration with the Danish NCD Alliance, the Uganda NCD Alliance now has 10 branches, 9 000 members, and approximately 150 voluntary workers tackling diabetes, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases.


WHO/S. Bones