The East Africa Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (EANCDA) has decried the low level of priority given to non-communicable disease in Africa and called on the World Health Organization to do more in its power to increase the response of governments and other stakeholder to the scourge in the Region.

This call was made by Dr Mucumbitsi Joseph, the Vice-Chair of EANCDA, in a Joint Statement presented at the annual AFRO Regional Committee Meeting (RCM) of the World Health Organization which took place in Addis Ababa on August 19-23, 2016. The Joint Statement, which was supported by the Global NCD Alliance, was co-signed by a coalition of over twenty partners from all over African and overseas; these included civil society organisations and research institutions working on NCDs.

In the Statement Dr Mucumbitsi noted that that ‘2011 Political Declaration on NCDs marked a watershed moment and an awakening to the need to address NCDs’ and was followed by global momentum and action to address the problem. He, however, lamented that there has been slow progress in Africa yet the continent is the most vulnerable to NCDs, which now pose  a threat not only to health but to wider development.

The Statement expressed disappointment that despite the urgency of the NCD problem and the RCM having a lot of influence on health in the continent, NCDs were not high on the agenda at the RCM. It then called for urgent action on four key areas: development of policies and strategic plans, adequate financing, health systems strengthening, and health information systems.

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