The 3rd Global NCD Alliance (NCDA) Forum was held recently in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. This forum was organized by the NCDA in association with the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), which was the local host body.
The Forum was held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Muhammad Al-Qasimi, Founder and Patron of FoCP and wife of the ruler of Sharjah, His Highness Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi.
The NCDA was formed to raise awareness about noncommunicable diseases, which are the biggest challenge facing medicine and dentistry today. Diabetes and dental caries are two global pandemics that are rampant and widespread across every strata of society. This alliance aims to bring the world’s biggest healthcare organisations under one umbrella to battle such diseases.
Dr SM Balaji represented the ADI at the forum as a member of the Executive Council, ADI and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Global Oral Health (JGOH), which is the official publication of the ADI. The JGOH is an initiative that seeks to highlight the devastation caused by NCDs on populations and to help guide policy decisions in this regard.
The SEARO(Southeast Asian Regional Office-World Health Organization) Alliance meeting was also conducted in Sharjah. Participation was robust with representatives from all member nations contributing information about ongoing development projects and plans for the future in their respective regions. Dr SM Balaji was elected as Secretary of the SEARO at this year’s meeting.
Dr SM Balaji met with Dr Christopher Fox, Executive Director, International Association for Dental Research (IADR) and Dr Enzo Bondioni, Executive Director, World Dental Federation (FDI) at the Global NCDA forum. He also met with Dr Jean-Luc Eisele, Executive Director, World Heart Federation.
Their discussions revolved around the increasing evidence linking good oral health and a healthy heart. They discussed the importance of a joint effort towards tackling the biggest health issues that faced mankind today in the form of noncommunicable diseases.
Dr SM Balaji also met Ms Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of the legendary former South African President, Mr Nelson Mandela. He expressed his admiration for her grandfather and said that he is an inspiration to the whole world as a leader who changed the lives of millions of people.
Ms Mandela is a cancer survivor and was a special invitee of the Founder and Patron of FoCP. She spoke at the forum about her battle against the dreaded disease and the obstacles that had to be overcome during that difficult period. She stressed on the need to fill in the lacunae that exist regarding awareness about the causes of cancer in the poorer regions of the world.
Dr SM Balaji was invited to visit the medical school of the University of Sharjah. He had a lengthy interaction with the students who quizzed him about his passion for Cranio-maxillofacial Surgery. He motivated them to focus on their career while also reminding them about the service oriented nature of the profession.
Dr SM Balaji presented them with his ‘Textbook of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery,’ which was greatly appreciated by the students.