Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, are the leading cause of death and illness worldwide. NCDs are a growing health and economic challenge for both rich and poor countries – killing 3 in 5 people in the world, with 80 per cent of these occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
It is estimated, however, that half of the deaths caused by NCDs are preventable.
Building on the IFRC’s long history of health promotion within communities by using simple tools adapted to local context, also known as the Community-based Health First Aid Manual (CBHFA), the IFRC-IFPMA '4 Healthy Habits' partnership develops and adds to the existing manual a module on healthy lifestyle guidelines and NCDs control and prevention.
In a bid to reduce risk factors from community members’ lifestyles, such as unhealthy diet, tobacco and physical inactivity, the module incorporates behavior change methods for different target groups (programme managers, facilitators, volunteers and community members) to meet the needs of different age groups.
These tools are easy-to-use, interactive and available in three different languages. They are deployed for use by the 98 Red Cross Crescent National Societies worldwide and help Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers to empower their communities to do the required behavior changes for healthy lifestyle, focusing on the key necessary five steps: knowledge, approval, intention, practice and advocacy.
The IFRC will make the toolkit available to about 3 million people worldwide through a 15-million strong volunteer network in 189 countries. Volunteers in 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific and 13 countries in Europe, have already been trained and training is expected in a further 40 countries in the Americas and Africa by 2014.
The 98 Red Cross Crescent National Societies are implementing community based health and first aid programs with over 30,000 active volunteers at the community level reaching more than 2.8 million beneficiaries all over the globe.
The program has been successful in attracting a huge interest, with many countries having already started the implementation with the existing draft materials, such as Indonesia and Bangladesh. There are 4 regional trainings planned in 2014 and several country training will be taking place naturally. Due to this success, the number of target countries has been raised from 40 to 75, and a translation into 3 additional languages has been planned.