WDF and UNICEF join forces to prevent NCDs in children

A new agreement paves the way for joint initiatives and concrete projects to improve the health of young people in low- and middle-income countries.
WDF's Dr Anil Kapur and UNICEF's Alfred Josefsen at the signing of the new agreement.
On 5 March, the Chairman of UNICEF Denmark and the Chairman of the World Diabetes Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate collaboration between the two organisations in an area of common interest: preventing diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). 
 
Both organisations want to improve the health of children and adolescents in low- and middle-income countries, as these vulnerable groups are no longer just subject to undernutrition and hunger, but are now also facing risks related to malnutrition and obesity: namely, diabetes and other NCDs.
 
The Danish National Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF Denmark) is UNICEF’s exclusive partner in Denmark, with a mission to advocate for children’s rights, raise funds for and provide visibility to UNICEF’s work. In 2018, UNICEF developed a new guidance for early life prevention of NCDs, and encouraged member organisations to seek new partners to help implement this new focus area for UNICEF.
 
“We must win the fight against diabetes and lifestyle diseases among children and young people around the world. The problem is growing and we need strong global partners if we are to achieve our goal. That is why we reached out to World Diabetes Foundation, which has in-depth knowledge and strong experience in the field” says Alfred Josefsen, Chairman of the Board, UNICEF Denmark.
 
The agreement states that the collaboration will work under the guidance of the Sustainable Development Goals, including targets for reducing premature mortality from NCDs (Goal 3.4), universal health coverage (Goal 3.8) and revitalising global partnerships (Goal 17). 
 
Seeking to fill gaps
 
Specific activities under the MoU could include joint support for advocacy initiatives focused on the importance of preventing diabetes and NCDs. These initiatives would target children, adolescents and their families living in low- and middle-income countries.
 
Joint support for pilot projects, larger-scale projects, and global or regional events to share best practice and build the evidence base and investment case for NCD prevention are also possible outcomes.
 
“We are always seeking opportunities to fill gaps and to create synergies that increase WDF’s impact,” says Dr Anil Kapur, Chairman of the Board, WDF. “UNICEF Denmark has an international network, wide country representation and remarkable results in the areas of child health and education; I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”
 
WDF and DNCU are already in a dialogue with several UNICEF country offices to discuss opportunities and identify specific country interventions. The two organisations hope to launch their first joint initiative under the agreement before the end of 2019.