ADDIS ABABA, Feb 5 Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health and AstraZeneca, a multinational bio-pharmaceutical company, have signed a partnership agreement for the launch of the Healthy Heart Africa initiative in Ethiopia.

The agreement is meant to support Ethiopia’s National Strategic Action Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) by putting decentralizing and scaling up high quality hypertension care and treatment at the core of the programme.

The partnership was initiated in late 2015 when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties was signed. The programme is said to help Ethiopia to address the burden of hypertension for low and middle income patients across the country.

“In order to further tackle the growing burden of NCD, we have decided to partner with AstraZeneca based on the commitment and leadership role the organization has played in the past,” says Ethiopian Health Minister Dr. Keseteberhan Admasu.

Various activities will be conducted under the programme to increase health professionals’ awareness about non-communicable diseases, especially raising hypertension education and awareness among at risk individuals, training of care providers and ensuring access to low cost and high quality treatment.

The Healthy Heart Africa project came to Ethiopia following the success of demonstration projects in Kenya launched in October 2014.

A demonstration project aimed at identifying effective strategies for integrating hypertension care into the existing healthcare infrastructure will be the first phase of the program.

The partnership is an example of how public and private institutions can collaborate to address the rising tide of non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, said Tarek Rabah, AstraZeneca’s Vice-President for Africa.

The company looked forward to supporting Ethiopia’s fight against hypertension and cardiovascular disease, he added.

Source: ENA