Ministry of Health (MoH) says integrating diabetes and hypertension control in the non-communicable disease (NCD) platform will improve people’s health by enhancing the national capacity to implement NCDs’ prevention and management strategies.
Speaking to members of Balaka District Executive Committee on Wednesday, MoH assistant director of clinical services responsible for NCDs, Hastings Chiumia, said a multi-pronged approach is required to address the NCD burden in Malawi as it still remains a challenge.
“NCDs and mental health conditions are on the rise in the country and a survey in 2009-2010 showed that prevalence rate for diabetes was at six percent while hypertension was at 33 percent.
“Another survey in 2016-17 showed diabetes at 1.6 percent and hypertension at 16 percent and that’s why the ministry introduced NCDs unit.
“With the World Diabetes Fund grant that we secured, we will provide comprehensive and high-quality care for chronic NCDs, including diabetes and hypertension, at central, district and community-level hospitals in Malawi through prevention, screening and linkage to care, improved provision of care adherence and retention,” he said.
Chiumia said the grant will also support the roll-out of an integrated Diabetes and NCD Clinic model to Southern Region that will provide primary care for patients with chronic NCDs and secondary care for patients with complicated or severe illness.
Diabetes Association of Malawi (DAM) president Clement Mandala said diabetic patients at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre faced challenges in 2007 which translated into numerous problems in all hospitals.
“The plight of patients included lack of medicines and medical care. Diabetes drugs were non-essential on government budget as it was unpopular then,” he said.
Mandala said DAM was established to act as a mouthpiece for all diabetic patients in Malawi and work jointly with the MoH for better medical service delivery; hence, in the new project it will help mobilise communities to attend upcoming screening events and mobile clinics.