KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Non-communicable Disease (NCD) Malaysia launched the Malaysia Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs today in four different languages – Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil at National Cancer Society Malaysia. This launch was officiated by Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament for Klang and chairperson of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights.
The Malaysia Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs is the collective voice of people living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Malaysia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs, also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors.
The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
The Advocacy Agenda is built with the singular objective of ensuring that the voices of people living with NCDs, including what they face and what they need to live with to manage their disease, are heard.
In total, 108 people living with NCDs from across 11 disease areas participated and lent their voices via extensive community conversations carried out throughout 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, to give life to this Advocacy Agenda.
“NCDs continue to plague the world. Malaysia is not exempt from this, and accounts for 74 per cent of all deaths (or an estimated 113,400) in 2016. For the past 10 to 15 years, our country has attempted to tackle this problem, including the development and implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases; and previously set up a Cabinet Committee for a Health Promoting Environment,” said Dr Saunthari Somasundaram, chairperson of NCD Malaysia.
“Despite these efforts, there appears to be little headway in lowering the rates of NCDs. The Malaysian National Health Morbidity Survey in 2019 reveals that the rates of diabetes, for instance, continues to be significant,” she added.
“We commend the government for making a great effort to prevent NCDs, and to treat people living with NCDs. However, what remains missing is meaningful involvement: we have not successfully included the input and opinions of people living with NCDs, even though they are the ones living with the diseases, and are the ones most affected by the decisions made,” Dr Saunthari said.
“We need to understand the true needs of people living with NCDs; but more importantly, we need to include them into every decision-making process, because no decision should be made about them, without them. The Global NCD Alliance has seen the need for this movement, and has carried out this consultation across various different countries.”
“Today, the Malaysia ‘chapter’ comes into fruition, in which we have united a range of voices from people from different backgrounds and who live with different NCDs. The Malaysia Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs aims to give them an avenue for their voice. Their needs and wants are addressed in one document.”
“There isn’t a more urgent time to launch the Malaysia Advocacy Agenda, and to have our voices heard, as the Covid-19 pandemic is still rampant, and its effects on People Living with NCDs wide and deeply felt.”