We live in a world where many people suffer and die from Non-communicable Disease (NCDs) like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and even diabetes. These diseases not only shorten lives, but claims an individual’s years of productivity in the workspace and general well-being. NCDs are not just health issues but a major human rights and equality concerns since they affect the most vulnerable in the society. People from marginalized communities are more prone to the dangers of NCDs as compared to the elites or communities with adequate financing yet they still remain under-funded globally. However, to improve lives, ensure equality and to attain the 2030 Sustainable Development (SDG) Agenda, more funds need to be allocated for its prevention and management. “The greatest hope for the future is that people with NCDs are valued and involved in planning their own care, that they have a louder voice to policy makers and are much more involved from the beginning” says Helena with a lived experience in the United Kingdom according to the World Health Organization report(WHO).
The right to participate is an essential feature of the right to the highest attainable standard of health. People living with health conditions should be at the center of contributing meaningfully to decision-making that impacts their lives according to the WHO assertion. It is important for governments to invest in early interventions and strategies to promote healthy living to people of all ages and to prevent them from NCDs. Nearly seven million lives may be saved by 2030 if the low- and middle-income countries invest one dollar per person every year on cost effective interventions. The potential benefits are massive, not just for health but it extends to sustainable growth and development.
It is now clearer that people with lived experience of NCDs globally face challenges to meaningful inclusion. There is a need to having a clear roadmap for actions in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and with member states to push forth this agenda which has been accomplished so far according to World Health Organization (WHO). Meaningful engagement of people with NCDs thus emphasizes the diversity of communities. It is very rewarding to help those living with NCDs other than in scientific ways but also in technical ways.
It is important to denote the issue of cots when it comes to Diabetes treatment. Brazil for instance as a state spends the most per person on persons with Diabetes according to two critical surveys, thirty per cent of young people from age thirteen to nineteen, who have diabetes are showing some complication of the condition which is a very sad reality. People with diabetes are rarely invited to participate in the development of diabetes policies and programs in their countries which is a derailing factor and a con to development. Citizens and a broad spectrum of civil society organizations need to understand the benefits of collaboration to enhance global justice and aim at reducing premature deaths from chronic non-communicable diseases. Community champions hence plays a vital role in providing people with access to critical information and support breaking down barriers and siloes to champion for the marginalized voices.
Nothing prepares you to adapt to mental health crisis in this era. Sharing issues with people who have lived experiences in certain situations without sugarcoating eases the affected individuals. The healthcare system is dysfunctional in the sense that mental healthcare is under-funded and hypothesized to be all about treatment and curing, just the biomedical aspect. States have not strengthened the frameworks for psychosocial support which is key hence the medical practitioners are left to decide everything on behalf of someone with a mental health condition. People tend to forget mental health actually entails psychosocial support, affordable housing, employment, good healthcare and good education. Poverty is a key indicator across the board which if not solved, mental health issues become so engrossed in human life and difficult to manage or even prevent. Individuals with first hand experience of NCDs and mental health conditions play an important role in contributing to the designing of effective, inclusive, equitable health interventions and strategies that leaves no one behind because they know the effects and what works for those affected. They can offer clear insights can help shape policies, cascade better health programs and inspire the general population to contribute meaningfully.
The choice is in our hands to enable people live long by either sensitizing them on NCDs, their impact on people and countries to lead an active life and keep these conditions at bay; to protect people from major risk factors like tobacco, alcohol and other environmental pollutants and to improve early detection of NCDs. Collective action is needed from Healthcare Providers, Governments, Policymakers, Civil Societies, Private Sectors and Academia. States opt to make bolder choices in this regard to achieve the sustainable development goals. Advocacy has what it takes to create awareness, shape public opinion and diffuse political debates to initiate change. Pushing for more commitment, political will, activism, structures and financing to create more healthy societies.
In light of the global epidemic of NCDs, the recent Covid-19 pandemic and persistent health inequities, understanding the complex determinants of health conditions are very critical in attaining the sustainable development agenda. Effectively addressing NCDs requires understanding how these disease affect people, the challenges and needs that people face as they navigate healthcare systems and daily life. Taking a people centered approach is not a moral rhetoric, it simply makes perfect sense. By bringing together people living with NCDs, including them in decision-making tables and responding to their needs helps in shaping programs and policies that actually work.
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