Malawi launches its first Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs
Malawi launched its first Advocacy Agenda for People Living with NCDs in a ceremony held on 15 February 2022, the occasion of International Childhood Cancer Day.
Fifty people, including officials from the Ministry of Health, the Malawi NCD Alliance, people living with NCDs, civil society and media attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the launch, held on the occasion of International Childhood Cancer Day.
The Malawi Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs was developed as a result of consultations conducted from July to October 2021, involving over 150 people living with NCDs, including care partners, from all four regions of Malawi. The Malawi Advocacy Agenda identifies the needs, challenges, priorities and recommendations of people living with NCDs in Malawi through four key areas: human rights and social justice; prevention; treatment, care and support and meaningful involvement.
It serves to strengthen the NCD response at national, regional, and rural areas. It is a reference to be used by all stakeholders and people living with NCDs to urge decision makers to take prompt action, to meet agreed upon global and national NCD targets, and to put people first.
The launch was attended by the Head of NCDs and Mental Health Section from the Ministry of Health, Dr Jonathan Chiwanda, alongside the Chairperson and members of Malawi NCD Alliance, who made presentations during the meeting. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by lived experience advocates from the alliance and the Assistant Director of NCDs and Mental Health Section from Ministry of Health, Mr Hastings Chiumia.
Other attendees included officials from the Malawi Ministry of Health headquarters, health staff from Kamuzu Central Hospital (a Tertiary Hospital), civil society, media houses, and members of the Malawi NCD Alliance.
"It is true that NCDs are becoming one of the biggest health challenges not only in Malawi but in several other countries across the globe...As such, we would like to call on the government and all other stakeholders to ensure that we are actively involved in decision-making processes so that all the issues we face are incorporated into national policies," said Samuel Kumwanje, NCD Alliance Member and lived experience advocate
The importance of having an advocacy tool like the Malawi Advocacy Agenda was acknowledged by all participants, who were a forthcoming with advice and contributions on how they could work together to reduce the NCD burden in the country.
The following recommendations on the implementation of the Advocacy Agenda were noted for consideration:
- Need to share the Malawi Advocay Agenda of People Living with NCDs widely amongst different stakeholders
- Important to mobilise people living with NCDs in the four regions of the country through the four Tertiary Hospitals and then through district hospitals so that they can benefit from the recommendations of the Malawi Advocacy Agenda.
- The urgent need for resource mobilisation to deliver on the recommendations of the Malawi Advocacy Agenda Important to engage and draw lessons from the HIV/AIDs movement and their advocacy strategy/work.
The launch was widely covered by print, television and digital media.