The NCD Alliance is strong and influential. With great successes.
They have achieved that the attention on NCDs has gotten on to the highest level!
We are on the right path! A path paved with strong political commitments, like for instance the Global Action Plan on NCDs, and a Sustainable Development Goal on health.
Still, there are too much preventable suffering, disability and death from NCDs, from cancer, heart, diabetes, lung disease and other conditions - and too little action.
The NCD Alliance rightly pointed to the fact that in addition to figures, research-based knowledge, arguments and advocacy rhetorics, we need to put a face on NCDs. To involve those we are actually talking about, and talking on behalf of.
Because: NCDs is not a technical term – it is about people!
The NCD Alliance understood this – took an important initiative, and called it Our View, Our Voices - and organized a wide global consultation.
Our Views, Our Voices - Many of you in this room have contributed; either as hosts or participants.
Nearly 1900 people from 76 countries across the world, either in group-discussions or in an online survey or per to per. We all contributed with our views, so that we could better understand needs, challenges, and priorities of people living with NCDs.
In other words – the NCD Alliance has captured the individual voices behind the large numbers. The number of NCD deaths 40 million every year, millions and millions living with diabetes, millions and millions suffering from heart disease, millions and millions loosing their parent, etc. etc. – it is too huge to grasp. We must never forget that behind the millions there are individual persons that live their lives, with their close ones. I am talking about you, you, you - and me.
Based on this output, the Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs was drafted. As you saw in the film, a group of 34 people living with NCDs from 22 countries convened at a workshop to finalize the Agenda that is presented to you here, today.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am proud to launch the first output of the Our Views Our Voices initiative: NCD Alliance’s Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs.
This will promote the views and voices of people living with NCDs at global, regional and national levels. It will be our compass to strengthen and amplify NCD advocacy work.
This document will help us to:
1) Better understand where “the shoe pinches”: What are the main, common challenges of people living with NCDs?
2) Will help us to involve people living with NCDs in decision-making processes, so that the outcomes of political meetings reflect the needs of those who are affected.
3) Will help us to stimulate public debate, challenge misconceptions surrounding NCDs, and break down stigma and discrimination
The agenda identifies four key areas that are closely inter-related and that are important to all of us, no matter where we live.
- Human Rights and Social Justice
- Treatment, Care, and Support and meaningful Involvement
NORWEGIAN CANCER SOCIETY
I am so happy and proud of this initiative from the NCD Alliance. They help us unite globally, share best practice and not continue to work in silos. I know it will have great effect: The Norwegian Cancer Society has worked this way for a long time.
Health organizations are per definition the aggregated voice of people. Our job is to talk on behalf of people. It’s a fact, by doing so, we do influence society.
How come we have such a position?
In our daily work with patient support, information, help line – just to mention a few ways– we gather knowledge about the challenges people meet. And we use this in our advocacy work.
To strengthen the message and to illustrate our points we engage with people that can tell their personal story. These voices talk to the hearts. These faces get a lot of media attention. These views and experiences reach the politicians.
My message is: This combination – advocacy standpoints and individual voices - make the public listen, shapes opinions, and create behavior change.
WHY DO I INVOLVE PERSONALLY?
This initiative is close to my heart. One thing is that the Norwegian Cancer Society have a long history of actively using patient voices in our advocacy.
In addition, I am a «walking NCD alliance» myself: My brother died of diabetes, my father of lung disease, my mother of heart disease, and I – myself – I am a cancer survivor.
Sure, I know what it is like to be a person affected by NCDs.
But I am not unique. Most people are themselves or have family or close friends that are affected. Access to treatment and good care often depend on where you live, but the feeling of grief and loss, and the fear of dying affect all human beings equally, no matter where we live.
No one is immune to NCDs. We are all in it together.
Fighting NCDs on behalf of each and everyone that are living now and for future generations takes heart, it takes passion, it takes strength.
But it also gives strength, it gives courage, and it gives us all hope.