Tackling the hidden epidemic of non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa: Developing the Else Kröner Center for Heart and Lung Disease (EKC-HLD)

Principal Investigator: Andrew Katende

Project leader/ Coordinator: Martin Rohacek

Project Administrator: Priscilla Mlay

Funding Partner: Else-Kroner-Fresenius Foundation, Germany

Start date: Nov. 1, 2020

End date: Jan. 31, 2023

Tackling the hidden epidemic of non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa: Developing the Else Kröner Center for Heart and Lung Disease (EKC-HLD)

Tackling the hidden epidemic of non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa: Developing the Else Kröner Center for Heart and Lung Disease (EKC-HLD)

In sub-Saharan Africa, awareness of hypertension, heart failure, and obstructive lung diseases such as asthma and COPD is low. These diseases are diagnosed and treated in a minority of patients only, despite their high morbidity and mortality. In order to prevent these diseases, to increase the number of diagnosed patients with hypertension, heart failure, and obstructive lung diseases, and to increase the number of correctly treated patients, we build the Else Kröner Center for Heart and Lung Disease (EKC-HLD) in rural Tanzania, targeting a population of 1 million people.

The project is organized around four main pillars:

1. Specialist level clinical services will be provided to both in- and outpatients including echocardiography and spirometry services.

2. Training, education and research will be carried out to train healthcare workers, including medical doctors, students, nurses and community health workers in methodology and practice relevant to heart and lung diseases.

3. A fully documented patient cohort will be established, allowing measuring health indicators, progress made and represents a sustainable platform for research projects.

4. Community health and outreach activities provide training and education to the general public, patients and primary healthcare workers, i.e., by community education in villages, public education and screening campaigns, or by communication with key stakeholders and public media about, chronic heart and lung diseases.

The project is funded by the Else-Kroner-Fresenius Foundation, Germany and it will be carried out in collaboration with St Francis Referral Hospital (SFRH) in Ifakara, Tanzania, Charité University Hospital, Germany, the Swiss Tropical- and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Basel and the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, over a period of two years and three months.

The EKC-HLD will eventually be handed over to a Tanzanian consortium consisting of the St. Francis Referral Hospital and the Ifakara Health Institute. #