On the sidelines of the 2018 World Congress of Cardiology held in Dubai, members of the Reach team participated in NCD Alliance’s NCD Café. The NCD Café format provides an opportunity to discuss current challenges in the global health arena and other NCD topics more broadly in an environment which encourages discussion and interaction between the audience and panellists.
On the 7th December, Reach Executive Director, Jeremiah Mwangi chaired a discussion on “Joining forces: Building strong health systems through interprofessional collaboration for effective NCD responses.” Other panellists included Dr Buthaina Bin Belaila (Head of NCDs section, Ministry of Health and Prevention, UAE), Dr Thomas Gaziano (a fellow of the American College of Cardiology), and Dr Renae Stafford from the Touch Foundation, based in Tanzania. The conversation focused on interprofessional collaboration as a key answer for health professionals to gain experience and acquire comprehensive new skills. During the discussion, the importance of increased collaboration between health workers at different levels of the health system was highlighted as critical to improving the support people living with NCDs receive.
Following the session above, Reach Programme Manager, Ms Susan Perkins was also a panellist on the session entitled, “Nothing about us without us: Putting people living with NCDs at the centre of the NCD response”. This session was chaired by Dr Ibtihal Fadhil, who represented the EMRO NCD Alliance. Other panellists included Dr Buthaina Bin Belaila, Ms Seba O. Alkawaldeh (Program Management Consultant, Project Hope, UAE) and Ms Nina Tuyor, a cancer survivor living in the UAE. The conversation focused on the importance of involving people living with NCDs (PLW NCDs). Dr Ibtihal Fadhil opened the session with acknowledgement that “cardiovascular diseases (including rheumatic heart disease) are currently the number one cause of death globally, and that childhood and adolescence are a critical time for their prevention. Putting people living with NCDs at the centre of the NCD response is integral.”
Susan Perkins also highlighted the importance of input and meaningful engagement from people living with RHD to help inform and guide appropriate NCD responses. Ms Perkins highlighted some of the activities which Reach have been involved in which have had patient engagement at their core. These include the interactive “Listen to my Heart” events attended by PLW RHD, clinicians, health care workers and policy makers. The events provide an opportunity to learn more about RHD, the services health care workers provide, and most importantly the chance to meet and network with other PLW RHD. Earlier this year Reach was formally registered as a standalone NGO, as well as being governed by a formal board we are also in the process of finalising a Community Advisory Network (CAN) made up of frontline health workers and PLW RHD to guide our activities and priority setting.