Sources: L’Economiste du Faso and CSCI, Forus member in Ivory Coast

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory or even metabolic diseases are on the rise in numerous African countries and are now one of the major causes of death. According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2018, 37% of deaths in Côte d’Ivoire were linked to NCDs. Putting an end to these threats to public health requires well-established health systems. This is an issue of public interest, and civil society actors are attempting to find a response. Recent years have seen a growing involvement on the part of CSOs.

This is the case specifically in Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa surrounded by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo and Ghana, where the Permanent Secretariat of NGOs (SPONG), a member of the international Forus network, is in charge of coordinating the activities of civil society. In partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a project for the “Reinforcement of civil society’s involvement in monitoring and governance of policies to reinforce health systems in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Niger” conducted by the Network for Access to Essential Drugs (RAME) has been initiated. 

From 11 to 15 February 2019, several working groups from three countries came together to reinforce the strategy for exercising influence and the capacities of civil society. The regional workshop had the aim of achieving a consensus on coordination, management and monitoring/evaluation of the involvement of CSOs and local political players; it ended with the creation of a citizens’ platform to monitor health policies and to promote interaction between political decision-makers from public health and civil society. An initiative supported by the Permanent Secretariat of NGOs (SPONG) in Burkina Faso.

This initiative echoes expanding national strategies to reinforce the capacities offered by CSOs in Africa. In the same manner the National Secretariat for the Reinforcement of Capacities (SNRC) in Côte d’Ivoire has requested the technical support of the Foundation for the Reinforcement of Capacities in Africa (ACBF), located in Zimbabwe. A meeting held from 18 to 21 February 2019 in Côte d’Ivoire with the two CSOs saw the elaboration of a “National Strategy for the Reinforcement of Capacities”. The objectives of ACBF’s mission, the situation of locations with insufficient capacities of the SNRC, and the prioritisation of missions to reinforce the capacities of national organisations were announced in the presence of officers and the National Coordinator, Mr Mahamadou Kouma, for the Ivorian Civil Society Convention (CSCI), the Ivorian member in the Forus network.