Equity in NCD response
NCD Alliance

Equity as a core part of the NCD response

21st May 2024

Equity and human rights have long driven the NCD agenda and NCDA’s mandate. However, significant disparities remain in how the NCD response is delivered and how it affects health outcomes. NCD Alliance saw the need to develop resources to equip civil society with the tools to champion a strong equity focus in their advocacy efforts.

Responding to the needs of our NCD community, the Our Views, Our Voices initiative recently launched a conceptual framework for health equity in NCDs, (From ideas to action: Accelerating the NCD response through health equity, a conceptual framework) and an accompanying practical guide (Equity in action: Adding an equity lens to NCD advocacy, a practical guide), co-created with equity experts, civil society and people with lived experience to enable civil society at national level to apply a stronger equity lens to their work, to reach those left furthest behind

In follow up to the launch of the framework and practical guide, this May, Our Views, Our Voices in collaboration with consultants Equal International, delivered a training for national alliances from Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Malaysia, India, and Bangladesh on conducting an NCD equity assessment. The training was possible thanks to NCD Alliance partner, Bristol Myers Squibb who are also supporting alliances in Kenya and India with NCD health equity grants.

The two-day training used the Equity Conceptual Framework and the Practical Guide as a basis to trigger discussions on inequities in the national context, and explored the ways alliances could take the equity lens from a concept to real-world. Day one of the training provided an overview of the Framework, how to evidence examples of NCD inequity and how to develop a participatory equity assessment. Day two dived into the stages of the equity assessment (who is being left behind, why they are being left behind, and generating inclusive policy recommendations), with alliances working through these stages using examples from their own country context.

Representatives from NCD Alliance Kenya and the Healthy India Alliance highlighted the importance of meaningful involvement of people living with NCDs in advocacy on health equity. The grantee alliances shared with the wider group their plans to conduct health equity assessments in their country context, and to include a representative sample of people with lived experience at all stages of the project. They pointed out that not all existing policies for NCDs are being implemented, or that they are ‘one-size-fits-all'. The equity resources launched by NCDA can be used to highlight policy gaps and how policies can be adapted to include those experiencing inequity.

Also, participants mentioned populations being left behind and experiencing adverse NCD health outcomes, such as the Rohingya ethnic group currently seeking refuge in Bangladesh, as discussed by the Bangladesh NCD Alliance.

Equity is a core principle of the Global Charter on Meaningful Involvement of People Living with NCDs and the training marked NCDA’s commitment to the Charter of Meaningful Involvement, as well as progress towards achieving equity in NCD advocacy and the broader response.