Ethiopia is strategizing awareness raising intervention to promote behavioral change in a bid to prevent and control Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Dr. Bisrat Desalegn, Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Team Coordinator at Ministry of Health said that NCDs are mostly caused by risky behaviors such as unhealthy diet, sedentary living, excessive alcohol and smoking (and also in our country's particular case chewing khat). The government is planning to raise the awareness of the public in a bid to inform and trigger a change of risky behavior within the public and thereby prevent and control NCDs.
According to the Ministry's data, NCDs are responsible for 44 percent deaths in Ethiopia currently, accounting for almost half of the 9deaths, while if it goes in its current trend unchecked it is expected to rise to 70 percent by 2025.
Dr. Bisrat, said that the country is facing a rapid rise in NCDs, which is becoming a burden to the country. He added that while the government gained success in combating and controlling the expansion of communicable diseases through prioritized action, the rapid rise of NCDs has posed an additional burden, given that communicable diseases are still in the picture.
The Team Coordinator notes that as most of NCDs are chronic, their treatment negatively impact the income and welfare of individuals (households) affected by the diseases, thereby causing huge economic burden at country level as well.
The government is working heavily to address the spread and negative impact of NCDs by designing a strategy.
"We devised a strategy back in 2014, and we are planning on redesigning the strategy by including new things we learned since then and by accounting for new realities and trends transpiring on the ground."
According to Dr. Bisrat, basically the strategy have four pillars to address NCDs, one of of which is to promote awareness within the public in order to trigger a change of the [aforementioned] risky behaviors. We should plan and focus to solve this issue by working to ignite behavioral change on the risk factors that are causing the NCDs, raising the awareness of the public and involving other sectors like the media, he adds.
Other intervention designed within the strategy are a more systematic and integrated health treatment, strengthening the administrative works and database networking for NCDs prevention and control works.
Dr. Bisrat also added that they are working with various governmental and nongovernmental partners, including working to import medical equipment in lower prices, which is expected to lower the cost of the treatments.