Public Health (Non-communicable Disease)

The WUN Public Health Global Challenge emphasizes a life-course approach to opportunities for addressing non-communicable diseases especially in low and middle income countries and transitioning populations but also in developed societies where there are social disparities in risk. This focus is based on substantial evidence for the inextricable linkage between maternal, perinatal, infant, childhood factors and adult lifestyle factors that accumulate and contribute to the risk of developing NCDs later in life. It is recognised that some non-communicable diseases are linked to communicable disease and some have genetic predisposing factors.

Particular attention will be paid to both population- and individual-based approaches to increase access to education, to promote health literacy in children, adolescents and parents and to empowering women, both to reduce the burden of NCDs and to provide other benefits such as gender equality and promoting neurocognitive capacities.

The importance of socio-demographic and environmental factors underlies the importance of links with ongoing global initiatives, in particular the Millennium Development Goals and the development of the new Sustainability Development Framework, which highlights the importance of maternal and child health, food security, climate change and sustainability to global public health.

Focus of the WUN Public Health Global Challenge in 2014-15 

1.  Health of family and migrants across the life course

How does migration affect the health and wellbeing of families? This theme includes ageing, non-communicable disease, mental health and the economic impact of migration as a determinant of health outcomes for both migrants and family members who are left behind.

2.  The resilience of adolescents in different cultural contexts

The term "resilience" is used to mean positive adaptation to significant adversity in the context of a particular population or culture. This theme addresses the biological, social-ecological and psychological resources associated with resilience with a particular focus on two groups: young people and health workers. It includes how resilience compares in young people from different cultures, and the factors that contribute to their resilience; and why and how formal and informal health professionals adjust positively to occupational adversity across time. 

3.  Schools as a setting for reducing risk factors associated with NCDs

How can interventions in schools help to effectively reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)? This theme includes identification, implementation and measurement of  best practice to support the development of sustained health behaviours through curriculum-based, policy-based and public health messaging interventions in a wide range of social, cultural, geographic and economic contexts.