Health Ministry Receives Essential NCDs Management Equipment From WHO

THE Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) has received a consignment of essential Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) medications and sundries from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in move set to intensify the fight against the increasing NCDs burden in the country.

By Michael Gwarisa

The donation of essential NCDs equipment also comes at a time the ministry of health and WHO are working on a new WHO NCD Risk Factor Survey. The last survey was done in 2005 which showed that the prevalence of hypertension in Zimbabwe was around 27%, Hypertension 10% and according to ministry of health, the prevalence of these and other NCDs may have gone up over the past 20 years according to the ministry of health.

In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Director Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr Justin Mudavanhu, Secretary for Health and Child Care, Air Commodore Dr Jasper Chimedza said it was against the background of high NCDs prevalence that the ministry adopted the WHO package of Essential NCD (PEN) interventions focusing on the primary care level and the program will be nurse led.

The ministry of health and child care notes with great appreciation that work of WHO in the area of NCDs in Zimbabwe. More people die from cardiovascular diseases (CDV) than from any other cause. Of 56.9 million global deaths in 2016, 40.5 million, or 71% were due to NCDs, 80% were due to heart attacks and strokes.

“According to the same report, in 2016, over three quarters of NCD deaths (31.5 million) occurred in low- and middle-income countries with approximately 46% of deaths occurring before the age of 70. The leading causes of NCD deaths in 2016 were cardiovascular diseases (17.9 million or 44% of all NCDs deaths), with diabetes, accounting for 1.6 million deaths,” said Dr Chimedza.

He added that the implementation of a nurse led NCD program aims to achieve increased early diagnosis and management of CVDs, reduce premature deaths from CDVs and reduce the financial burden on the people suffering from CVDs.

“As part of the PEN program the NCD department did the following. Developed protocols with support from WHO, MSF-Belgium and Solidamed, trained primary care workers, reviewed the policy on the scope of prescription by nurses, selected two pilot districts for implementation, i.e Wedza Districts and Matobo district and baseline assessment of the two districts in September.

“Implementation of this program is at primary care level with the aim of increasing access to NCD services, but district hospitals will also be capacitated to handler referrals. The program will be integrated into the other primary care activities line ANC, Immunisation, Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV and maternal child health services.”

The PEN program will be implemented through a phased approach by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and WHO. The selected demonstration sites are Wedza District, Mashonaland East Province and Matobo District in Matabeleland South Province.

Speaking at the same event, WHO Country Representative, Dr Alex Gasasira said there was progress towards NCDs management in Zimbabwe and government was taking necessary steps to ensure the the battle against NCDs is won.

“I want to take this opportunity first of all to appreciate and applaud Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Government of Zimbabwe for all the efforts they continue to put in place to ensure all citizens get equitable access to health services.

“We all know that the best way to do is strengthening primary health care so we are delighted, today we are handing over this consignment for use at the primary health care level,” said Dr Gasasira.

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