African Health Ministers Endorse New Strategy To Combat Communicable Diseases

African health ministers have endorsed a new strategy to boost access to the diagnosis, treatment and care of severe non-communicable diseases.

The health ministers, gathering for the seventy-second session of the UN World Health Organisation, WHO Regional Committee for Africa in Lomé, Togo adopted the strategy known as PEN-PLUS.

The plan will be implemented as a regional strategy to address severe non-communicable diseases at first-level referral health facilities.

The strategy supports building the capacity of district hospitals and other first-level referral facilities to diagnose and manage severe non-communicable diseases.

Severe non-communicable diseases are chronic conditions that lead to high levels of disability and death among children, adolescents and young adults.

In the worst cases, patients live no longer than a year after diagnosis.

In Africa, the most prevalent severe non-communicable diseases include sickle cell disease, type 1 and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes, rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, severe hypertension and moderate to severe and persistent asthma.