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How well are non-communicable disease services being integrated into primary health care in Africa: A review of progress against World Health Organization's African regional targets.


ABSTRACT: Objective: In Africa, mortality due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is projected to overtake the combined mortality from communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases by 2030. To address this growing NCD burden, primary health care (PHC) systems will require substantial re-orientation. In this study, we reviewed the progress of African countries towards integrating essential NCD services into PHC.

Methods: A review of World Health Organization (WHO) reports was conducted for all 47 countries in the WHO African Region. To report each country's progress, we used an a priori framework developed by the WHO regional office for Africa (AFRO). Twelve indicators were used to measure countries' progress. The proportion of countries meeting each indicator was tabulated using a heat map. Correlation between country income status and attainment of each indicator was also assessed.

Findings: No country met all the recommended indicators to integrate NCD services into PHC and seven countries met none of the indicators. Few countries (30%) had nationally approved guidelines for NCD management and very few reported availabilities of all essential NCD medicines (13%) and technologies (11%) in PHC facilities. There was no overall correlation between a country's GDP per capita and the aggregate of targets being met (rho = 0.23; P = .12). There was, however, a modestly negative correlation between out-of-pocket expenditure and overall country progress (rho = -0.58; P < .001).

Conclusion: Progress by AFRO Member States in integrating NCD care into PHC is variable across the region. Enhanced government commitment and judicious resource allocation to prioritize NCDs are needed. Particular areas of focus include increasing the uptake of simplified guidelines for NCDs; increasing workforce capacity to manage NCDs; and removing access barriers to essential medicines and basic diagnostic technologies.

SUBMITTER: Tesema AG 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7580905 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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