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As part of efforts to reduce the growing burden of non communicable diseases (NCDs) on mortality and morbidity in Namibia, the Ministry of Health and Social Services with support from WHO is strengthening the health system to ensure that comprehensive services for prevention and control of NCDs are decentralised to peripheral health facilities. NCDs account for an estimated 43% of total deaths in the country.
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The WHO Package of Essential Non-Communicable Disease interventions or PEN guideline is a minimum standard for prevention and control of NCDs to strengthen national capacity through the integration and scale-up of care for hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular risks, Diabetes Mellitus, asthma and chronic lung diseases at primary care level.
The ministry organised the first national training of trainers (TOT) training on the PEN package with the support of WHO and other partners and funding from AMREF. AMREF is providing funding to the MoHSS to train 100 health care workers in PEN by December 2019. The overall objective of the training was to conduct training of trainers on the PEN guideline for primary care settings. The TOT was attended by 35 health workers including chief medical officers, nurses and allied professionals from across the two regions, Hardap and Kavango, where the initial implementation of the decentralised services will take place. They in turn trained 28 health care providers in Hardap region to strengthen NCDs 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 is making steady progress in addressing non-communicable diseases. The country has a unit dedicated to the prevention and control of NCDs, there are measures through legislation and policies to control tobacco and alcohol use. Namibia is one of the few countries in Africa with a cancer registry. A multi-sectoral plan for the control and prevention of NCDs is in place and this is being implemented through a national coordination mechanism. The drafting of the PEN guidelines and the subsequent training of health care workers strengthens NCDs prevention and care for all, even at the periphery.
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