Namibia and WHO partner to strengthen clinical care of NCDs

by Amref Health Africa

Namibia is making steady progress in addressing non-communicable diseases with the help of the Ministry of Health and Social Services and support from WHO, The aim is to strengthen the health system to reduce the growing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and ensuring comprehensive services for prevention and control of NCDs are decentralised to the peripheral health facilities in the country. Statics show that NCDs account for an estimated 43% of total deaths in the country.

The ministry organised the first national training of trainers (TOT) on the PEN package with the support of WHO and other partners and they also received funding from AMREF. AMREF is providing funding to the MoHSS to train 100 health care workers in PEN by December 2019.

According to WHO,Package of Essential non-communicable disease interventions (PEN) for primary care in low-resource settings in an innovative and action-oriented set of cost-effective interventions that can be delivered to an acceptable quality of care, even in resource-poor settings. These tools will enable early detection and management of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes,chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer to prevent threatening complications such as heart attacks,stroke, kidney failure, amputations, and blindness.

The objective of the initiative was to conduct training for those on the PEN guideline for primary care settings. A total of  35 health workers underwent training including chief medical officers, nurses and allied professionals from across the two regions, Hardap and Kavango. They trained 28 health care providers in Hardap region to strengthen NCD’s care at primary health care level. The training was conducted using the new national PEN guideline which was developed through the technical support of WHO, CDC and UNAM.

Namibia has a unit dedicated to the prevention and control of NCDs and measures through legislation and policies to control tobacco and alcohol use have been acknowledged. Namibia is one of the few countries in Africa with a cancer registry. A plan for the control and prevention of NCDs is in place and this is being implemented through a national organization.The drafting of the PEN guidelines and the training of health care workers strengthens NCDs prevention and care for all, even at the periphery.

Amanda Mkhize

Article first published on

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