Experts Meet in Rwanda Over Non-communicable Diseases

this site sans-serif; font-size: small;”>The Ministry of health in collaboration with Partners in Health organised the two day inaugural meeting of the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Synergies Network to focus the fight against NCDs in low and middle income countries.

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In her opening remarks at the conference, Minister of Health, Agnes Binagwaho said, “Rwanda has made remarkable progress in fighting communicable diseases, and is now making progress in the fight against NCDs. The fight against NCDs calls for global networking and solidarity.”

She noted that Rwanda is working on an NCD strategic plan and is open to work with other governments that are facing similar challenges.

“Africa has been focused on infectious diseases but the morbidity rate for HIV, TB and malaria has dropped significantly, more than 75 percent for us in Rwanda,” said Binagwaho.

The conference gathered policymakers, healthcare providers, and NCD experts from 18 countries to collaborate to explore ways to fight NCDs.

According to World Health Organisation, NCDs kill more than 36 million people each year and nearly 80 percent of NCD deaths – 29 million – occur in low and middle income countries.

Among the key speakers at the conference was Sir George Alleyne, the Director Emeritus of the Pan American Health Organization who said that technical cooperation between countries is vital to fight NCDs through strategic planning, implementation and advocacy.

He highlighted some lessons learned and best practices.

It should be noted that NCDs, also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally progress slowly.

The four main types of NCDs diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

Minister Binagwaho said given Rwanda’s success in stabilizing infectious diseases, and the rise in NCD deaths, the maion focus must shift to strategic policy and partnerships to address NCDs comprehensively and establish a basket of knowledge that has two volleys, training and health personnel and raising awareness in the public.

In addition, Rwanda’s health facilities are constantly being updated to be able to meet the rising cases in NCDs.

Butaro Hospital, Rwanda’s cancer centre, is set to be upgraded to be able accommodate more patients than the 1000 it did last year.

The NCD Synergies Network was borne of a UN General Assembly mandate following a September 2011 United Nations High Level Meeting on NCDs.

The network is an attempt to bring together low income countries to share best practices and increase technical cooperation that would lead to all countries having a strategic plan based on common policy and strategies by the end of 2013.


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