Leveraging the meaningful involvement of people living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is at the very core of the Philippine Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs. Its primary goal is to place Filipinos who are living with NCDs, including their families, at the heart of health policy and practice in the NCD response.
The Advocacy Agenda is informed by our realities and aspirations as Filipinos living with NCDs. This Agenda expresses our desire to be part of decisions that affect our lives.
Its development involved a series of consultations among Filipinos living with NCDs. An Advisory Group, composed of 8 people living with NCDs, led the development of the Philippine Advocacy Agenda. 850 Filipinos with personal lived experience of NCDs and care partner experience shared their views during a series of focus group discussions, and a nationwide online survey. The development of this Advocacy Agenda was made possible with the support of the Healthy Philippines Alliance (HPA), a network of civil society organizations representing people living with NCDs in the Philippines.
During the community conversations held in various parts of the country, Filipinos living with NCDs were assured of a safe environment and confidentiality for the information that they shared. With that assurance, we spoke candidly, freely, and honestly about our personal experiences. There were moments when we were overcome or carried by our emotions. As is natural of us Filipinos, we still laughed despite our miseries, disappointments, and frustrations. Behind this, however, is a call to alleviate our burdens through an improved and integrated healthcare system.
In response, duty and knowledge bearers can refer to the Agenda for direction and strategy setting, policy and decision making, and program development and implementation. Four main areas are highlighted in the Agenda: Human Rights and Social Justice; Treat- ment, Care, and Support; Prevention; and Meaningful Involvement. Through this Agenda, we hope the Philippine government, through the Department of Health as the lead agency, public health institutions, local governments, the legislature and political leaders, and the private sector recognize and value our participation as Filipinos living with NCDs, and as key stakeholders in our healthcare system. We hope this Agenda will open the doors to pave the way for our meaningful involvement.