CONFERENCE: Non-communicable disease burden needs urgent attention, response

Dr. Sally Mtenga, Head of the Health Systems, Impact Evaluation and Policy at Ifakara presents at the NCD conference in Dar es Salaam. PHOTO | Courtesy of Dr. Mtenga/IHIcoms
Nov. 13, 2020
CONFERENCE: Non-communicable disease burden needs urgent attention, response

The 2nd National Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Conference has called for urgent attention and response to the disease in an effort to relieve its burden. Recommendations issued at the end of the two-day conference held in Dar es Salaam from November 9-10 2020, the conference outlined four key action points to be addressed with urgency.

The four key recommendations are:

  1. The burden of NCDs needs urgent attention and response
  • Strong and sustained promotion of healthy lifestyles
  • Develop and implement Social behavioral Change and communication strategy for NCDs
  • Ensure effective implementation of the existing NCDs strategic plan and align it with other relevant sectorial strategies
  • Engage learning institutions from early childhood to higher learning to realize sustained behavioral change for NCDs prevention
  • Mainstream and evaluate the role and implementation of NCDs education from primary education to higher learning institutions
  • Align existing policies and implementation thereof for risk factors of NCDs (Example, tobacco control policies, sweetened sugary beverages, food labelling, and promoting physical activities in schools)
  1. Strengthen multisectoral approach and engagement in the NCDs response
  • Form a strong multi, and intersectoral coordination mechanism from national level down to the community level
  • Ensure protection of public spaces for physical and recreational activities
  • Reach out and engage religious and community leaders in the NCDs response
  1. Strengthen health care financing in addressing NCDs in the context of Tanzanian population
  • Ensure coverage of health insurance to cover all Tanzanians and reduce catastrophic payments
  • Health insurance coverage redesigned to cover NCDs prevention, care and treatment to cover:
  • All insurance scheme to be able to address NCDs response
  • Start dialogue on mandatory health insurance according the context and subpopulation
  • The Government to identify alternative sources of funds for health financing for NCDs (example, Sin tax, community contribution/ mobilization, corporates, Small and Middle Entrepreneurs)
  • Premium on motor vehicles, houses, and other insurances to directly contribute into health as health financing for injuries, burns, and other NCDs
  • Earmarked taxes to form health fund
  1. Develop and strengthen human resource competencies to address NCDs
  • Strengthening competencies of the existing human resources for health to prevent and control NCDs
  • Ensure the current training curricular for health workers are addressing the current burden of NCDs
  • Strengthen screening and treatment services in all health services delivery (especially primary health care) to make use of available human resources.

Ifakara researchers who participated in the conference include, researcher in Health Economics, Kassimu Tani (inset), who was pronounced the best poster presentation winner; and Dr. Sally Mtenga, Head of the Health Systems, Impact Evaluation and Policy department at Ifakara, who featured in the conference organizing committee.

Present at the conference also was Ifakara Chief Executive Director, Dr. Honorati Masanja, who participated in one of the sub-plenary sessions of the conference around the theme: Strengthening health systems to prevent and control NCDs in Tanzania. #