By Denis Joseph Bukenya,
There is now worldwide recognition of the global health and economic impact of non- communicable diseases (NCDs). Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a specific target to, “reduce by one third the level of premature mortality from NCDs” However there has been slow progress towards achieving these targets. This has prompted the WHO to set up a special Commission to make actionable recommendations for governments to act on in order to respond to the crisis. Among them is the critical importance of strong political will to ensure that NCDs prevention and treatment are top priorities.
In regard to the recommendations, Uganda has embraced an initiative creating a national NCD plan in collaboration with Civil Society Organizations. However the challenge is that in Uganda the NCDs program targets are not yet set hence lagging behind in drumming up political support.
This then raises questions to the political commitment in ending NCDs. Are the funds from the Ministry of Finance appropriated only to be misappropriated by the Ministry of Health? Or are there no funds at all?
This paper will explore the extent to which health rights networks like PHM-Uganda have engaged pro-active means in galvanizing consensus regarding NCD management. It will further show the engagement of regional networks to forge cooperation as well as coordinated platforms for advocacy on NCDs in health and the development agenda. A case study from the People’s Health Movement East and Southern Africa’s undertaking to benchmark the NCD response in the region will be analyzed. The merits of a charter, a call to action, and the impact of the advocacy tools developed by the network at the global level during the 70th WHO Assembly Global Health Watch in Geneva demonstrating its role in catalyzing national NCDs planning will be scrutinized.