Gov’t up scales efforts to tame Non-Communicable Diseases


Gov't up scales efforts to tame Non-Communicable Diseases
AstraZeneca Healthy Heart AfricaSenior Director for Healthy Heart Africa, Ashling Mulvaney (Right) after signing the agreement. PHOTO| COURTESY

In Summary

  • The government is moving to reverse the alarming rise in the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in the country.
  • The Ministry of Health has partnered with AstraZeneca's Healthy Heart Africa.
  • Over the last three years, more than 4,000 healthcare workers have been trained and 660 healthcare facilities activated through the initiative spearheaded by HHA and MoH.

The government is moving to reverse the alarming rise in the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in the country.

The Ministry of Health has partnered with AstraZeneca’s Healthy Heart Africa, an initiative aimed at tackling hypertension and the increasing burden of cardiovascular diseases in Kenya and across Africa.

The bio-pharmaceutical company focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines for the treatment of diseases in Oncology, Cardiovascular and Metabolic and respiratory diseases.

According to the AstraZeneca Vice President for Sustainability Jim Massey and Senior Director for Healthy Heart Africa Ashling Mulvaney, Non-Communicable Diseases are projected to be the most common cause of death in Africa by 2030 hence the need for more focus and remedial finances.

The two attributed the success of their programmes targeting NCDs to strategic partnerships with key stakeholders; including a Memorandum of Understanding it signed with the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) to have its medicines availed to public health facilities to ensure wider access to treatment.

“Non-communicable diseases are projected to be the most common cause of death in Africa by 2030 as treatment of conditions such as hypertension is expensive for most middle and low-income earners. Healthy Heart Africa is working very closely with the Ministry of Health and other partners, to not only drive awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure but also to provide affordable and high-quality medication to patients diagnosed with hypertension,” Mulvaney said.

“It’s a huge growing burden globally, but it is becoming manageable. Through the partnerships, we’re looking to go into three additional countries. We’ve already screened 5.3 million people,” she added.

And Mr Massey added: “NCD is not a category unto itself, it’s made up of everything from hypertension, to diabetes, to respiratory and oncology, so it will be necessary for any Ministry of Health and any community to be thinking of how they will be managing all that make up the category.”

At the same time, Ministry of Health Deputy Director of Medical Services and Head of the Non-Communicable Diseases Unit Dr. Ephantus Maree said the initiative has seen millions of Kenyans access free blood pressure checkups, in line with the World Health Organization’s global hypertension target of a 25% reduction in the prevalence of raised blood pressure by 2025.

“This grass-root level of intervention is making great strides towards achieving our national health goal of attaining the highest possible standard of health in a manner responsive to the needs of the population,” opined Dr. Maree.

Over the last three years, more than 4,000 healthcare workers have been trained and 660 healthcare facilities activated through the initiative spearheaded by HHA and MoH.

The officials were speaking during HHA’s 3rd year anniversary in the country.

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