THET has been working in partnership in Ethiopia for over twenty years to address the problem of chronic disease.
In common with other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the burden of chronic NCDs in Ethiopia is considerable. Ethiopia suffers from a high prevalence of chronic disease such as diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, hypertension and cancer, which cause disability and death; however, many people in Ethiopia, particularly rural populations, are unable to access treatment due to the remoteness of hospitals, which are usually located in towns and cities.
Access to long-term care is only available at specialist and referral hospitals, while the rural poor and those that live far away from large central hospitals have no provision. THET responded to the initiative of local health workers in Gondar and Jimma to help find a way to enable poor rural people with chronic NCDs to receive care at local health centres.
THET's Chronic Non-communicable Disease Programme in Ethiopia seeks to address a range of problems, including a lack of skilled staff, unsupported staff, limited resources particularly drugs, no tradition of follow-up care, and poor access to care for patients. Decentralised care is at the heart of our programme work.
Our programme work enables rural people suffering from chronic diseases to receive essential care near to their homes from health workers who are appropriately trained, continuously supported, and encouraged to develop their skills.
In order to provide excellent care, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and frontline health care staff have been supported with training and supervision, providing training in management of specific diseases.
As a result of the programme, local health worker activity has increased and many more patients have been seen.
THET founder Sir Eldryd Parry has spearheaded many of the programme developments and achievements to date, and continues to be a key partner with the programme.
Leading on the project is Ethiopian physician, Dr. Yoseph, who has a wealth of experience in chronic diseases and has worked extensively in Jimma and Gondar. He works closely with the Ministry of Health integrating programme work in MoH priorities.
By working at the local and national level and integrating project work into the regular health service, this project will help to build an equipped and integrated workforce for the longer term.
You can read first-hand accounts from one of Dr Yoseph's many dispatches from the field here.
The programme is addressing 3 main areas:
- Staff – unskilled and unsupported
- Service – limited resources (particularly drugs) and no tradition of long term follow up
- Sick – those who are poor, distant, uninformed
The main activities are to:
- Train and support staff
- Ensure appropriate supplies
- Maintain excellent records
- Monitor all components
- Provide service near homes
- Educate everyone
- Advocate and lobby for more support