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Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) management

The challenge: The World Bank (2020) reports that over 30% of the total deaths in Somaliland are attributed to NCDs, and all these deaths occur prematurely. In a recent study, 18.2% of patients visiting hospitals in Hargeisa and Burao suffered from NCDs, with diabetes mellitus (DM) and hypertension (HTN) accounting for most cases at 7.5%  and 13.7% of total visits, respectively (THET 2022). The problem is that information on NCDs is scarce in Somaliland, resulting in NCDs remaining both under-diagnosed and under-treated. 

Our response: Pharo Foundation applies a two-pronged strategy to stall the growth of NCDs in Somaliland. First, many people do not know that they have  DM or HTN. For instance, the International Diabetes Federation's records show that 13 million adults are living with undiagnosed cases of diabetes in Africa (IDF, 2021). They are also unaware of the benefits of risk reduction and healthier lifestyle habits (e.g., diet, exercise, etc.). This leads to lower-than-expected demand for NCD-related treatment services, the rapid development of complications and premature death. Pharo Foundation wants to solve this awareness problem through health promotion, health education, and community-based screening. Second, there is a lack of specialised NCD services in Somaliland. The existing hospitals do not have specialised clinics for NCDs. Thus, they cannot provide high-quality services for managing and treating NCDs. To solve this problem, Pharo Foundation is supporting the Ministry of Health Development in setting up a centre for NCDs (the first of its kind in Somaliland) at Hargeisa Group Hospital. This serves as the national and referral hospital for the country. The Foundation will also provide training courses for health workers, to integrate NCDs services into primary health care and to increase the number of health centres providing good quality care for people with diabetes and hypertension in Hargeisa districts.