Sunday, April 21, 2024

Childhood chronic disease a concern


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THERE MAY BE pre-conceived notions that mostly adults are living with chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs). However, in 2012 children and adolescents were identified as a priority for advocates across the globe. Through NCD Child, a global organisation and strong partner of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), children living with, at risk of developing or affected by non-communicable diseases now have a champion.

Here at home, the HCC, a regional organisation, is formulating Youth4NCDs, an open forum and network for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 years. The Youth4NCDs programme will identify young champions from across the Caribbean and bring them together to discuss issues which affect them and their peers. These champions can become ambassadors for wellness and effective strategies for the prevention and control of CNCDs and also advocate for changes to legislation.

Tracey Knight-Lloyd, assistant vice president – marketing for Sagicor Life Inc., indicated that the company supports the initiative fully.

 “The HCC’s decision to form the Youth4NCDs network is insightful. It gives young people a voice and can reduce feelings of isolation in children and adolescents who are living with the effects of CNCDs. We applaud the HCC on this innovative programme. Sagicor Life Inc. champions initiatives such as this which promote positive developments for youth and the health of those in our communities. Earlier this academic term, Sagicor continued its drive to increase awareness of CNCDs among children through our support for the EduDrama Programme in Primary Schools.”

Maisha Hutton, manager of the Healthy Caribbean Coalitio,n explained the need for the network. “Through Youth4NCDs we hope to provide a safe space for young people to share their experiences and their vision for the future. Approximately one in four people in the Caribbean is between the ages of 10 and 24. Building a healthier future is highly dependent upon effective engagement and intervention with young people during this critical window of opportunity.”

She continued, “The HCC will provide a platform for young champions to contribute meaningfully to the CNCD discourse; shaping Caribbean perspectives and priorities around health and influencing the development of policies and programmes that have a direct impact on young people.”

The Youth4NCDs project is funded at the international level by the NCD Alliance and regionally the HCC has received financial support from Sagicor Life Inc. to assist with building organisational capacity. (PR)


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