On 5 September 2019, Ethiopia disseminates the results of a case report for Investment in prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs): a cost-benefit analysis including considerations on the impact of khat. The dissemination workshop took place at Jupiter International Hotel, Addis Ababa with the presence H.E Dr. Amir Aman, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, representatives from the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), other relevant stakeholders and the media.
Produced jointly by WHO, UNDP, Ministry of Health (MoH) and the UN Interagency Taskforce on NCDs, the report is intended to make the case for investing in the prevention and control of NCDs and to strengthen multisectoral responses to NCDs in Ethiopia. The report provides evidences on economic burden of NCDs; and identified a set of policy and clinical interventions that the country should consider in the next 15 years to obtain maximum returns on investment, required funding estimation and health gains.
NCDs are presumed to be significant threats to the national health and economic development of Ethiopia. According to the NCD report in 2016, Ethiopia’s annual economic losses from NCDs amounted to 31.3 billion birr, about 1.84% of the national gross domestic product.
The investment case report shows considerable measures taken on NCD-related polices in Ethiopia thus far. On the other hand, the report confirms an absence of integrated NCD programme or action, gaps in implementation of the WHO-recommended cost-effective preventive and clinical interventions for NCDs.
“Developing relevant policies and legislations and multisectoral engagement -Parliamentarians, policy makers, various government sector offices and civic societies is one of the critical measures of interventions to tackle NCDs,” said H.E Dr. Amir Aman, Minister of Health. The Minister also emphasized on the need for active involvement of the public in the response especially with alcohol and khat.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Esther ACENG-DOKOTUM, CD/NCD Cluster Coordinator, on her part said, “Launching the study report is a strong indication of the Ethiopian Government commitment to the agenda of the global community to address the scourge of noncommunicable diseases, without which, Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved.” She added, “Generating local evidences is paramount in developing policies and legislations and galvanizing partnership for impact.” Further, Dr Esther reaffirmed WHO’s continuous support for the Government of Ethiopia and emphasized on collaborative partnership with international and national partners to promote policies and interventions against NCDs and their risk factors.
Immediate next steps recommended by the report are: (1) Advocacy and awareness-raising; (2) Strengthening coordination and planning; (3) Increasing excise taxes on harmful products; (4) Implementing, enforcing and extending to critical area of taxation of the 2019 tobacco control law; and (5) Paying due attention to and advance projects and partnerships on critical issues not covered in the investment case.
Reminding the audience that addressing NCDs is also the priority of the United Nations through its harmonized development assistance to Ethiopia, Mr. Cleophas Torori, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Ethiopia, underlined “The UN will be ready to support the government efforts in accessing global best practices in terms of innovations, in terms of laws, in terms of policies that need to be put in place in order to avert this catastrophe and get them enforced.” Finally, he emphasized on the need to make a strong investment case that ensures mobilization of the needed support for NCDs within the context of universal health coverage.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.