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Hello everyone,

Good to be here and hope the week is going great.

At Engage Africa Foundation (http://www.engageafricafoundation.org/) we are also a team of young people with an aim to fight chronic diseases on the African continent through health promotion, knowledge sharing as well as leveraging social media increasingly with a strong emphasis on prevention.

I would love to share with you what our organization is doing to raise the profile of NCD issues worldwide.

Recently we started a petition on change.org that aims to draw attention to the underfunding and underestimation of chronic disease on the continent. You can view and sign it here: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/the-bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation-...

Our vision for this petition is to see big players in global health specifically the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, being the largest funders of global health initiatives make a prominent paradigm shift toward leadership in combatting chronic diseases as a global health priority. While funding is definitely an area that can largely speed up work in the area, this is not simply about funding rather this is a call for visible leadership and equity in priority setting in global health. This is in the light of the current and projected impacts of chronic diseases on global health if kept unchecked.

I hope you will collaborate with us through proactively spreading the word about this petition among your network. We believe that if we are able to call the attention of big players in global health to chronic disease, it will significantly change the attitudes of every other player and will contribute to better leadership and more efficient work for this time-sensitive cause.

The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/the-bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation-take-a-lead-role-to-curb-the-rising-epidemic-of-non-communicable-diseases

Thank you for making this happen.

 
Abiodun Awosusi
Replied at 7:36 AM, 12 Apr 2013

Hello Ebele,
I commend your efforts and your commitment to fighting NCDs in Africa. It is a noble initiative. As a medical doctor, I have seen patients suffer from NCDs. My father is hypertensive and my mother is diabetic. So the advocacy for control of NCDs readily resonates with me. I am committed to ensuring we develop evidence-based cost effective interventions to tackle them effectively.
We need to clearly point out that sub-Saharan Africa has a double burden of disease: infectious and non-communicable diseases. The capacity to tackle the burden is challenged by a weak health system and lack of evidence-based policies. This implies that any intervention must first strengthen health system with a focus on primary care and promote access to care. It must not be skewed towards a particular disease or groups of diseases. The silo thinking focused on diseses does not work; systems thinking is better!
I am sure you are aware there is an ongoing unfinished battle against HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and pneumonia in children, malnutrition...and even poverty. Sadly still, every second a child dies in Africa due to malaria. HIV and AIDS is raging Southern Africa. Maternal mortality is unacceptable high. If these donor agencies are not actively working on these infectious diseases, I strongly believe the situation will be worse! if they withdraw funds, as some are doing, we may loose the gains we have achieved in the last decade fighting these infectious diseases. In fact, it is high time we looked beyond how much assistance we get from outside, and design highly relevant socially acceptable simple interventions that cost little.
Shall we wait for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and many others to shift funding focus before we begin to do visible sustainble work on the field, to fight NCDs?
It is instructive for us to emphasize the appropriate model: strengthen health system, improve access to care and invest in primary care. This model worked in Rwanda. It has helped to cut dowm maternal and child mortality, improved access to care to over 95% of the population and set the country on its path to achieving most of the Millennium development goals. Thanks to visionary leadership and investment in primary care. In Rwanda, I have a feeling it will not be difficult to combat NCDs because the foundation for a victorious battle has been laid.

Nonetheless, I support your course, Ebele. We need people like you to create a disease-free Africa. Kind regards.

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