Zambia is currently experiencing a major increase in the burden of noncommunicable diseases, with mounting social and economic costs. In response, the Zambia NCD Alliance has formed to catalase NCD prevention by providing a platform for NCD civil society organisations to partner for collaborative action on NCDs under the Sustainable Development goals.
On 15th of March, 11 organisations from NCD civil society convened in Lusaka to launch the Zambia NCD Alliance. The meeting was facilitated by the Zambia Heart and Stroke Foundation. The following organizations were present: Zambian Cancer Society, Diabetes Association of Zambia, Cardiac Society of Zambia, Tobacco Free Association of Zambia, Mental Health Association of Zambia, Zambia Asthma Association, Epilepsy Association of Zambia, Mental Health Users Network of Zambia, Bwalo Youth Development, and Anti – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Zambia.
Dr. Fastone Goma, President of the Zambia Heart and Stroke Foundation, acknowledged the contribution that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are making in the mitigation of the devastating effects of NCDs. He emphasized the need for CSOs to unite and overcome major challenges for sustainable development.
Dr. Goma mentioned that the government of Zambia has committed to developing a national response to the overall implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and reduce by 25% by 2025 premature NCD mortality. This highlights the need to collaborate through an umbrella body such as the Zambia NCD Alliance, which will bring members’ common interests together and reinforce their strengths for greater gains.
The Alliance also formed an Ad–Hoc committee involving one person from the eleven member organisations to strengthen and legalize the formulation of the Alliance by registering it with the relevant authorities as all members agreed that formalizing and legalizing the alliance would allow for greater recognition.
The Ad–Hoc committee will next meet in April to review the draft constitution, the requirements for registering the Alliance, and to chart a way forward.