The East African NCD Alliance (EA NCDA) promotes regional cooperation between the NCD Alliances of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zanzibar to provide a coordinated platform for addressing NCDs at sub-national, national and sub-regional levels.

EA NCDA held its Regional NCD Multi-Stakeholder Workshop on 25-27 January, hosted in Kigali by the Rwanda NCD Alliance. They welcomed over 70 participants, including delegations from each of the six participating national NCD alliances, along with numerous ministry of health representatives, senators and parliamentarians from the region.

NCD Alliance representatives, leaders of the Danish NCD Alliance, 5h3 WHO, the Young Professional’s Chronic Disease Network, Novo Nordisk, IDRC, Vital Strategies and others were also present.

At the workshop, the EA NCDA launched the ‘East Africa NCD Charter: Accelerating the fight against NCDs in East Africa’, a crucial priority-setting document informed by recent benchmarking research undertaken by the EA NCDA, based on an adapted NCD Alliance benchmarking tool.

The charter sets the scene for the region’s advocacy ahead of the 2018 UN High Level Meeting on NCDs, and was received at the workshop by several distinguished government representatives including Diane Gashumba MD, the Minister of Health of Rwanda, as well as ministry of health representatives from the region:

  •    Ms Jeanne Kwezira, Burundi
  •    Dr Maare Ephantus, Kenya
  •    Dr Sarah Maongezi, Tanzania
  •    Dr Gerald Mutungi, Uganda
  •    Mr Omar Mwalimu, Zanzibar

   “I believe that if we continue to work together like this – we will (…) reach our commitments” - Diane Gashumba, MD, Minister of Health of Rwanda

The workshop also provided an occasion for presenting and disseminating the results of ‘Our Views, Our Voices’ consultations in the region, which are being compiled into a report. The findings from a survey of NCD healthcare providers were also shared by researchers. In addition, Dr. Cristina Parsons Perez of the NCD Alliance spoke about the process for the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs and shared the recently published NCD Alliance campaign priorities.

Having set the scene for constructive advocacy efforts in 2018, all eyes are now on New York as the modalities for the High-Level Meeting are formulated in order to ensure this gathering makes real headway in stepping up action on NCDs in the region and beyond.