30 November 2018
People with hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy and respiratory disease will have new access to diagnosis and care at 60 sites across Ethiopia within the next two years. Hospital and health centre staff will be trained as part of a new partnership between Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), Health Poverty Action (HPA) and Novartis Social Business in close collaboration with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health.
In Ethiopia almost 300,000 premature deaths a year are due to chronic diseases like diabetes, respiratory and heart conditions, and over four in ten Ethiopians will die due to a noncommunicable disease (NCD). By 2040, NCDs are projected to cause almost 70% of Ethiopia’s disease burden, up from 17% in 1990.
NCDs are a particular concern in Ethiopia’s rural areas. Rural patients, many of them very poor, face long journeys to hospitals and health centres in difficult conditions and at high cost. They need access to NCD services closer to their homes.
The Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health asked for training and capacity-building to support its decentralisation strategy for NCD services. In response, Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), Health Poverty Action (HPA) and Novartis Social Business will join forces to train hospital and health centre staff, ensuring that patients no longer need to travel long distances for treatment. The project will also train 2,250 health extension workers so they can bring NCD prevention and management education directly to local communities.
Dr Liya Tadesse, State Minister of Health said: “The Ethiopian government remains committed to scaling up NCD decentralization and is delighted to announce a further expansion to THET’s programme. This is one of the most challenging projects we have undertaken as we transform Ethiopia’s healthcare system, but we believe that THET, Novartis and Health Limited have the required experience and expertise to deliver this programme successfully.”
THET’s CEO, Ben Simms, commented that: “THET is delighted to announce a new partnership with Novartis Social Business and Health Poverty Action in Ethiopia, in response to the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health’s (FMoH) request for support with its decentralisation strategy for NCD services. This exciting new initiative represents an important expansion in our NCD programme and we look forward to building upon our success with this new collaboration.”
Dr. Nathan Mulure, Head of the East African cluster for Novartis Social Business also stated that: “We are happy to support the efforts put in place by THET and HPA to help the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health decentralize health through catalytic funding and by bringing our experience from our capacity work in other countries. Providing funding to reinforce local health systems can only work if is it aligned with a government’s strategy. We hope this collaboration will provide earlier and more effective diagnosis and care to patients with chronic diseases, improving the likelihood for better health outcomes.”