The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General has convened a Civil Society Working Group on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to strengthen civil society contribution to combat NCDs. In this regard, the WHO has appointed the World Council of Churches (WCC) programme executive for Health and Healing, Dr Mwai Makoka, to this working group.
The WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs was originally convened by WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from October 2017 – October 2018 to support preparations for the 2018 United Nations high-level meeting on NCDs that was held in September 2018. The Working Group has now been mandated for two additional years to support implementation of the outcomes of the UN high-level meeting.
In this process, the membership of the working group has been expanded to better represent civil society that are working on NCDs, the WCC being one such actor.
Dr Makoka expressed appreciation upon his appointment as member of the working group, noting that it resonates well with the WCC’s long-standing commitment to health and healing and also the WCC’s efforts to implement an Ecumenical Global Health Strategy. In particular, this is line with the work for “health-promoting churches”, which is a community-based intervention against NCDs.
“The health-promoting churches is a systematic approach of promoting health education, practical activities, advocacy and public witness on key areas that impact on NCDs, namely: healthy eating, active lifestyles, no to alcohol abuse and tobacco,” Dr Makoka said. He added that participation in the WHO working group will help to share lessons and experiences from the ecumenical family and vice-versa, and generally highlight the enduring commitment of churches to health and wholeness.
The WCC and WHO signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 27 May 1974, and have since cooperated on several programmes in promoting the vision of health and wellbeing for all.