14 December 2018

Bootcamp: Non-Communicable Diseases in Humanitarian Settings

Advocating for NCD care in humanitarian settings - outcomes from a bootcamp

A neglected crisis: An estimated 134 million people will be affected by humanitarian crises in 2018, of whom 68.5 million are refugees or displaced persons. In 2017 alone, 16.2 million people were displaced, either for the first time or repeatedly. This means that one in every 110 people in the world today has been forced from their homes.

Emergencies are becoming increasingly protracted, with displacement sometimes measured in decades. The traditional humanitarian response, however, is short term and reactive, responding to the acute phase of the emergency. Chronic conditions and long-term prevention planning are therefore not part of the response. There is a striking lack of political focus, funding and support for treatment, care and prevention of NCDs in emergency settings, despite the burden that they pose on communities. Successful prevention, care and treatment of NCDs has economic benefits for families, business and society, reduces loss of life and upholds the right to health – and is absolutely necessary to address if governments are to reach their Sustainable Development Goal commitments of a 30 per cent reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2030. People affected by emergencies are  mong the most vulnerable populations in the world, so if calls for Universal Health Coverage are serious, then their needs must be prioritised.

2018 is an important year for NCDs; September sees a High-Level Meeting on NCDs during the United Nations General Assembly in New York – an opportunity for heads of state and government to recognise and commit to the need to act. The impact of humanitarian crises on NCDs must not be  neglected.


The information on this site is an outcome of the “NCDs in humanitarian settings” Bootcamp, held in June 2018. The Bootcamp brought together 70 young professionals and established experts from more than 30 different organizations to inspire advocacy action on the challenge of NCDs in humanitarian settings. The Bootcamp was developed and hosted by the partners: the Danish Red Cross, NCDFREE, the IFRC, and the University of Copenhagen.

The Bootcamp

People working in the humanitarian, development, global health, academic and advocacy fields do not often get the chance to meet, share their thoughts and break down barriers between the disciplines. The NCDs in Humanitarian Settings Bootcamp, held in Copenhagen over two days in June 2018, brought these disciplines together, mixing the enthusiasm and innovation of early-career professionals with the wisdom of operational experts with longer experience.

The Bootcamp brought to life a wish to think the challenge afresh by bringing local civil society and young leaders to the forefront of the policy dialogue on NCDs. The Bootcamp was inspirational, aspirational and practical – asking what needs to be done, identifying new pathways to achieve this, and ensuring a role for civil society.

At the end of the event, participants; achieved a shared understanding of the specific challenges related to NCDs in humanitarian settings and felt inspired to address them; developed bold policy asks and campaign ideas to further a policy agenda on NCDs in humanitarian settings and; forged new networks and partnerships as a platform for joint advocacy efforts.

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