The emergence of NCD Alliance East Africa reflects the ever-urgent need for action for the prevention and control of NCDs in the East African Region. Over this period, we have implemented several projects on advocacy, research, and capacity building. This work has involved undertaking regional benchmark surveys to track progress and to use the same to demand accountability on governments. Through this work, we have made several achievements, which include:
|The East Africa NCDs Charter In light of the increasing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the East African Sub-Region, the East African NCD Alliance (EANCDA) convened and adopted the Charter, based on the results of a regional benchmark survey, conversations with people living with NCDs (PLWNCDs) and NCD health care providers, and outcomes from the stakeholders’ workshop held in Kigali on January 25-27, 2018. The consideration of the East Africa NCDs Charter Commitments;
|1. Incorporation of NCD prevention, management and control in all national development plans, ensure policy coherence and coordinated action to efficiently mainstream NCDs and health in all national development plans
|2. Increased national budgetary allocations for health (aimed at achieving the Abuja Declaration of 15% of the national budget) to support Universal Health Care through strengthened Primary Health Care (PHC) system with specific activities for NCD prevention and care. For countries with devolved governments, sub-national government budget allocation to the health sector should mirror the Abuja Declaration as well.
|• Involvement of PLWNCDs and their caregivers in the formulation, implementation and review of all NCD policies, legislation, strategies, guidelines and activities
|1. Full implementation of tobacco and alcohol control legislation and policies, especially with regard to banning of advertising, and warning messages on products
|2. Full implementation of taxation for alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy foods and drinks, and the allocation of these taxes to the prevention, management and control of NCDs
|3. Development and implementation of effective integrated nutrition policies for control of both under-nutrition, overweight and obesity
|• Regulations on production, sale and marketing of foods and drinks containing high sugar, salt and trans-fats, especially those targeting children
|• Ensuring that the environment is conducive for healthy living and the promotion of healthy recreational habits targeting the youth to counter the rising prevalence of tobacco use, substance abuse, unhealthy diets and low levels of physical activity amongst this age group
|1. Comprehensive road safety interventions to mitigate the economic impacts from injuries and deaths due to road traffic accidents
|2. Effective Inter-Sectoral Coordinating Committees at the sub-national and national levels that include NCD prevention, management and control in their remit
EANCDA is moving towards widening its partnership to enhance its role in fighting NCDs in East Africa. The organization has had constructive engagements with several East African governments, national and regional institutions such as the East African Community and WHO Africa Region.
|Our partnership with the East Africa Community To enhance its relationship with EAC, EANCDA is expediting the process of creating a desk for NCDs at the East Africa Community Secretariat under the Health Secretariat. The Desk will be an active Centre point with staff focusing on the following:
|1. Ensuring that NCDs discussions and engagements in numerous Technical Working Groups are undertaken
|2. Ensuring that NCDs become a separate agenda item at EAC Heads of State Summit
|3. Preparing and conducting joint meetings to advocate for NCDs Prioritization
|4. Managing and coordinating the development of position papers and ensuring that papers are presented and discussed by the Council of Ministers of Health and subsequently other Ministerial Councils
|5. Ensuring that recommendations from the position papers are presented and discussed at the Heads of States summit.
The organization is building compressive and cohesive communication tools to enhance NCDs advocacy. The organization has also recognized the critical role of media in raising awareness and adding a voice to the call towards government action on NCDs prevention, management and control. Throughout its engagements with the media, the organization has equipped over 150 journalists with skills and tools to grasp and disseminate important key messages on NCDs through radio, TV, written press and online sites. The organization has also built strong media relationships and partnerships with media across the region.
The framework and Costed Action Plan will act as the guiding principle of East Africa’s response to addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), for a five-year period (2022-2026). The document will incorporate key learnings from the strategies of the respective member alliances of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Zanzibar; inspired by and aligned with key policies and plans. The document is also expected to have critical stakeholders’ involvement and key operational priority interventions.
The NCD Alliance East Africa has embraced the concept of Meaningful Involvement of People Living NCDs with the aim of actively and directly involving people living with NCDs during health governance, planning, accountability and decision-making process. Through its work, the organization has been able to proactively engage People Living with NCDs with the aim of amplifying their voices and protecting their right to health and participation during and post COVID-19.
|Other achievements include;
|1. East Africa regional benchmark surveys on NCD, 2014 and 2018 to track progress and to use the same results to demand accountability.
|2. Engagement and advocacy at regional health meetings of EAC and WHO.
|3. Regional stakeholder engagement and development of The East Africa NCD Charter 2014 and 2018, a set of key actions signed and committed to by all stakeholders.
|4. Conducting a collaborative Regional NCD Research Conference with APHRC and IDRC.
|5. EANCDA was given a coordinating role to the nascent African NCD Civil Society Network.
|6. Sharjah Award for Excellence in NCD Civil Society Action 2017.