WINDHOEK - Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says the response to non-communicable diseases calls for development and implementation of policies and laws that address the risk factors.
It also calls for strengthening of the health system to be able to offer patient-centered services across the spectrum of prevention, early detection, treatment and palliative care, added the Prime Minister.
She spoke at the launch of the National Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in Namibia on Friday.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said government is committed to addressing the risk factors of non-communicable diseases and has created a section for the coordination of prevention and control of such ailments within the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The National Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases is premised on the four pillars.
These are, to raise the priority accorded to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases on the political agenda and all levels through advocacy, to strengthen national capacity, leadership, governance, multi-sectoral collaboration and partnerships to accelerate the country’s response for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.
Also, to reduce modifiable risk factors for non-communicable diseases underlying social determinants through the creation of health promoting environment and to strengthen and orient health systems to address the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and the underlying social determinants through people centered primary health care.
“The UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development commits to reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment,” added Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
Dr Barango Prebo, of the World Health Organisation (WHO) country office said non-communicable diseases are less prioritised in some countries. There is an inadequate allocation of resources for countries and the proportion of funding allocated is not commensurate to the burden of non-communicable diseases, added Prebo.
“Political commitment is not always translated into action at country level. Some allocate three percent or five percent of the budget to non-communicable diseases while non-communicable diseases contribute about 20 percent to death in some countries,” added Prebo.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative to Namibia Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses said at the launch that the strategic plan would coordinate the different sectors’ efforts in preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases.
“The multi-sectoral plan calls for the establishment of a multi-sectoral coordination mechanism under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister with support from the Ministry of Health and Social Services,” said Sagoe-Moses.
He added that the burden of non-communicable diseases and its effect on development of the country requires the high level leadership of the office of the Premier with a sense of urgency to address its impact.
“There is a need to strengthen efforts in the development of treatment guidelines and protocol as well as to develop health promotion programmes to address unhealthy diets and physical inactivity,” said Sagoe-Moses.
He added that the United Nations is committed to supporting governments to increase investments in addressing non-communicable diseases.
“Our collective responsibility and action must match the scale of the challenge which non-communicable diseases present and this multi-sectoral platform is the best start to turn the tide nationally,” said Sagoe-Moses.