The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has said that the National Task-Shifting and Task-Sharing (NTSTS) Policy for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs-NTSTS) in Nigeria is set to be adopted.
When adopted, it will be an addendum to the ministry’s Task-Shifting and Task-Sharing Policy for Essential Health Care Services, Anyaike Chukwuma, director of Public Health in the Ministry, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday, in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
Mr Chukwuma spoke on the sidelines of a Technical Session of the 64th National Council on Health (NCH).
NAN reports that the NCH, a top policy-making body in the Nigerian health sector, brings together leaders in the health sector such as Permanent Secretaries, Commissioners of Health, heads of parastatals and directors, to discuss health-related issues.
Every year, the NCH is held to discuss ways to improve the country’s health sector and approve excellent policies aimed at bringing the health sector closer to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
How the policy will work
Mr. Chukwuma said that this policy was designed to address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases by decentralising comprehensive NCD prevention, diagnosis, care, treatment, and rehabilitation services to primary healthcare (PHC) facilities.
“The policy emphasises the need for multi-sectoral engagement and curriculum review, as well as training, re-training, mentoring, and supportive supervision of PHC workers to effectively prevent and control prioritised NCDs in Nigeria.
“By implementing this policy, the country hopes to adopt a patient-centered approach, accelerate progress towards NCD prevention and control, achieve universal health coverage, and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
The director said that one of the key benefits of this policy was the early detection and timely treatment of simple, uncomplicated NCDs.
He said that by shifting tasks to PHC workers, the policy would reduce the need for more expensive treatments at higher levels of healthcare, thereby improving resource efficiency.
Additionally, he said that task shifting would enable the available human resources for health to effectively address the emerging burden of chronic diseases, save lives, and allow physicians to focus on high-risk cases.
He said that the adoption of the NTSTS policy in the country was seen as a crucial step in combating the rising burden of non-communicable diseases at the primary healthcare level.
He said that the policy was expected to improve access to NCD prevention and control services, enhance patient care, and contribute to the overall improvement of the country’s healthcare system.
Effect of non-communicable diseases
NAN reports that the global impact of NCDs causes 74 percent of all deaths annually, with 86 percent occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
In Nigeria, NCDs contribute to 27 percent of annual deaths, emphasising the urgency to address this through Primary Health Care (PHC) systems.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends devolving NCD care to PHCs, utilizing task-shifting and task-sharing strategies.
It calls for strengthening PHC systems, outlining tasks for different health cadres, and emphasizing task-shifting benefits aimed at improving NCD management, reducing workload, and enhancing patient satisfaction.
SOURCE: Premium Times