“We are impatient for change”; The heartfelt voice of Ghana at the 3rd Global NCD Alliance Forum

Chris in action

The 3rd Global NCD Alliance Forum took place from 9th to 11th February 2020 under the theme “Bridging the Gap: how to translate the global commitments into national and local actions, where we all live and work and play” in Sharjah – United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Ghana NCD Alliance participated in this forum organised by the friends for cancer patients which was attended by participants from the health sector, patient organisations and advocates from different parts of the world.

The sub-themes to the forum were: “Saving lives through transformative policies and solutions”, “Building demand for action through transformative social movements and voices of change”, and “Enhancing accountability through transformative and inclusive governance”, which over the three days were the subjects of a plenary session followed by parallel workshops to cover the issues in more depth.

The team from Ghana comprised the chairperson of the Ghana NCD Alliance Dr. Beatrice Wiafe, the national coordinator of the Ghana NCD Alliance Mr. Labram Musah, and advocates Christopher Agbega and Joshua Makubu.

At the “Our Views Our Voices” parallel workshop during the forum, Christopher Agbega the advocacy officer from Sharecare Ghana and the Ghana NCD Alliance gave an analogy that best describes the current state of NCDs in Ghana and the world at large.

“Take a very critical look at what is happening in Australia! The wild fires and its effect on nature and humanity. Families have been scattered, properties have been lost and wildlife has experienced a tragic incident so high beyond imagination. This is to give you a picture on the effects of NCDs globally if not checked. The burden of NCDs on families, the society and the nation is crippling. This is why I advocate; this is why I call for change and the enforcement of existing laws in my country”.

The team from Ghana participated in other parallel workshops like the civil society coordination session, think like a broadcaster: How to create compelling stories and increase media attention for NCDs, and the plenary session on building demand for action through transformative social movements and voices of change.

In a statement during the parallel workshop “A people-powered movement: Unleashing the untapped potential of people living with NCDs to turbocharge the response”, Christopher Agbega shared: my NCD journey, my impatience in seeing the government move from making commitments to actually taking action and how powerful the lived experience of persons living with NCDs can bridge the gap.

“The lived experience of persons living with NCDs is a powerful element in affecting the needed change. The NCD Alliance needs to be acknowledged for doing the work of the Government by bringing people affected by NCDs together, seeking their views and concerns on issues pertaining to their human rights, treatment care and support, prevention and their meaningful involvement in the fight against NCDs and creating an advocacy document out of their inputs. This document should serve as a guide to the formulation of national NCD policies. The call for persons living with NCDs to be meaningfully involved in advocacy, policy formulation, implementation and evaluation, and leadership should be highly considered and enforced to bring down NCDs”, he said.

Joshua Makubu during the plenary session reminded delegates that we need to involve people living with NCDs not because they have an NCD but because they have valuable skills or the capacity to become more than observers, or already have the ability to bring about change (such as those who are industry leaders or parliamentarians).

For more info on the Forum visit www.ncdalliance.org