Attendees at the 2nd National Civil Society Consultation on NCDs in India © Healthy India Alliance

Healthy India Alliance: Uniting Civil Society Action on NCD prevention and control in India

9th August 2017

One in four Indians is currently at risk of dying from an NCD before the age of 70. In 2013, India, owing to its escalating burden of NCDs, adopted a set of 10 national voluntary targets under the National Action Plan to reduce premature NCD mortality by 25% by 2025. In 2015, the formation of a pan-India coalition - The Healthy India Alliance (HIA) - for the prevention and control of NCDs coincided with the Indian Government’s adoption of the National Multisectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs (2015-2022), which envisages meaningful civil society engagement in India’s NCD response and calls for a ‘whole-of-government’ and ‘whole-of-society’ approach to progress towards the national targets. With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also being adopted in 2015 and  Goal 3.4 dedicated to NCDs, HIA is in a strategic position to accelerate the civil society movement.

The Alliance has been working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and World Health Organization Country Office for India, to establish a mechanism for engagement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the national NCD response, including: generating awareness on NCDs, building capacity, empowering people living with NCDs and advocating for health promoting norms and policies in the country.

On July 11-12 2017, HIA organised the ‘Second National Civil Society Consultation on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)’ in New Delhi on the theme of “Multisectoral Collaboration and Capacity Building to Advance NCD Prevention and Control in India”. The consultation was organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (MoHFW, GoI) and the World Health Organization Country Office for India.

This Consultation aimed to convene multi-sectoral stakeholders from various multi-sectoral partners and CSOs, to take stock of India’s  NCD response, with a specific focus on strategies and opportunities to strengthen the engagement of both health and non-health CSOs. The consultation was attended by nearly 100 participants and served as a platform to advance discussions on developing formal GoI guidelines for engaging CSOs in the national NCD response. The Consultation also witnessed the launch of the India Civil Society Status Report developed by the HIA.

As a follow up to the National Consultation, HIA is now in the process of planning regional CSO consultations across the country in order to deepen discussions around the proposed CSO engagement guidelines and identify grassroots level priorities, needs and opportunities to inform the national NCD agenda, for HIA as well as for the Government.