Zimbabwe

Ministry of health receives medical supplies to strengthen the screening and treatment of patients with Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

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Harare, Zimbabwe – The World Health Organization with financial assistance from the Danish Government and Novo Nordisk, handed over medical supplies and equipment worth US$61 000 to the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) on 5 November 2020. The medical supplies will provide critical care services which include screening, monitoring and treatment of diabetes, hypertension and asthma at rural health facilities. The donation will support MoHCC strengthen the screening, treatment of patients with Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) using the WHO Package of Essential NCDs Interventions (WHO PEN) module with focus on rural health facilities. Wedza, (Mashonaland East) and Ngezi-Matobo, (Matabeleland South), are the 2 pilot districts set to immediately benefit from this consignment.

The medical supplies donated consisted of insulin, glucagon, diabetes, asthma and hypertension drugs, BP machines, glucometers, glucometer strips, adult scales, height boards, stethoscopes and digital thermometers.

“The medical supplies we received from WHO will go a long way in strengthening the implementation of our nurse-led NCD programme in Zimbabwe. The latter, will increase early diagnoses and management of cardiovascular diseases, reduce cardiovascular complications, reduce premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases and reduce financial burden on people with cardiovascular diseases,” explains, Dr Justice Mudavanhu, MoHCC, NCDs Deputy Director during the handover ceremony.

In addition, WHO has supported the MoHCC train at least 30 primary health care workers. The trained health care workers will cascade the knowledge down to their peers to improve detection, timely treatment and management of patients with NCDs. The use of low-cost interventions will help in informing policy changes that promotes effective use of available resources with better health outcomes. Moreover, WHO is supporting MoHCC develop a simple, user friendly protocols and guidelines for managing diabetes and hypertension in the primary care setting, with the pilot project in the two districts (Ngezi-Matobo and Wedza) being used to demonstrate effectiveness of the primary care approach before rolling out the programme countrywide.

Zimbabwe however, still faces the double burden of both communicable (HIV, TB, malaria) and non-communicable diseases (cancer, diabetes, strokes). Furthermore, there has been a demographic epidemiological transition in the country that has seen more people dying from cardiovascular diseases compared to HIV and TB. NCDs contribute about 33 percent of all deaths with cardiovascular disease and diabetes contributing about 14 percent while hypertension being identified as a risk factor to cardiovascular diseases.

“I applaud MoHCC and Government of Zimbabwe for all the efforts it continues to be put in place to ensure the development of health systems that ensures that all citizens have access to equitable access to health services of sufficient quality, leaving no one behind,” says Dr Alex Gasasira, WHO Country Representative.

“In the spirit of sustainable development goals and the attainment of universal health coverage and we are handing over this consignment for use at the primary health care level in line with that spirit,” adds Dr Gasasira.

Globally, the burden of NCDs continue to rise with 41 million people dying each year, equivalent to 71 percent of all deaths. Low and middle income countries account for 85 percent of these premature deaths while at least 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 years are dying from a NCD annually. There are four groups of diseases which account for 80% of all premature NCD deaths every year and these include cardiovascular diseases (17.9 million), cancers (9.0 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million).

To this end, the introduction of NCD specific responses at primary healthcare levels in Zimbabwe will contribute to the decline in NCD trends, while informing enhanced policy dialogue on health parity, through improved access to NCD-related services for those in rural communities who often struggle to access these services.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:

Wendy Julias Communications Officer Tel: + 263 914 31408 Email: juliasw@who.int