I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane....Part 6


This past November, You’re the Cure advocate and stroke survivor, Michelle Ballasiotes, had the privilege of attending the Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance Global Forum in Sharjah, UAE.  Michelle represented the AHA/ASA and her mom joined her on this experience of a lifetime.  Over the next few weeks we will be posting a multi-part series of Michelle’s reflections on the trip.  Many thanks to Michelle for writing about her experience and allowing us to share it on the blog!  Check back next week to read more about Michelle’s trip!  Missed a week?  You can find the earlier posts about her trip here, here, here, here, and here.

Sun. Nov. 15th, Morning: 

Meetings started early at 8:00 am. We had a report back session to summarize the key messages and action points from Saturday’s sessions. There was a lot to cover and we only had 40 minutes to hear about it. Next came our third plenary session about accountability as a force for change and achieving “25 by 25.” One of the goals of the NCD Alliance is to reduce deaths caused by NCDs by 25% by 2025. This was the most informative session in my opinion and we had some really great speakers.

We learned that including economics when asking the government to pass policies is beneficial and we need to have numbers. Without data, we have no case and no new think tanks. When advocating we need to articulate that by spending money on prevention now means that we don’t have to pay for these diseases in the future. It is also imperative to work together to achieve our goals and for the countries to learn from each other. One of the speakers, Sir George Alleyne had a very memorable quote, “If you want to go fast, act alone. If you want to go far, act together.”

After this last plenary session, the youth leaders met and wrote an additional declaration to be added to the primary declaration. This was not on the agenda but something that we as youth leader delegates felt we needed to add to give a voice to the upcoming generation of NCD advocates.

We were then off to our last workshop session. There were four of them again: Official Monitoring on NCDs and Civil Society Engagement, Civil Society Monitoring of the Private Sector for NCD Prevention, The Power of People: Communication Strategies to Mobilize Public Opinion on NCDs, and The Golden Practices of Engaging People Affected by NCDs in the NCD response. My mom and I attended the Engaging People Affected by NCDs because I was asked to speak about how my stroke before birth has affected my life. A young adult also shared his story of living with diabetes since he was 2. The objective of this workshop was to share why it is imperative to use the patients’ voices when advocating for policy change. I was able to talk about how well the AHA does this when we lobby Congress and in meetings with our state legislators! (To be continued…)



Want to keep up with Michelle and our other advocates?  Join our You’re the Cure network to get updates on all of the work that we are doing around the state!

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