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PEN-Plus Meeting in Kigali – The management and treatment of non-communicable diseases at primary levels strengthened

PEN-Plus Meeting in Kigali – The management and treatment of non-communicable diseases at primary levels strengthened

The management and treatment of non-communicable diseases at primary levels will be in the spotlight from 29 July 2019 to 1 August 2019 when the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) and the Ministry of Health Rwanda will be holding a Regional Consultation in Kigali.

The meeting, which will bring together Ministries of Health and WHO Country Representatives from twenty member states across the African region, in addition to WHO representatives from WHO/AFRO and WHO/HQ, will focus on “WHO PEN and Integrated Outpatient Care for Severe, Chronic NCDs at First Referral Hospitals in the African Region (PEN-Plus)”. 

The regional consultation will also include partner organizations, including Partners In Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima, Harvard Medical School, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), World Diabetes Foundation (WDF), Pan-African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR), Reach, the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO), African Palliative Care Association (APCA), and the Global Sickle Cell Disease Network, among others.

Building on critical work that WHO/AFRO and member states have already begun, to define and promote essential packages of care for non-communicable diseases at primary care levels (PEN), the consultation will evaluate current progress in implementation of PEN and discuss a regional strategy for expanding access to high-quality care for severe, chronic NCDs (PEN-Plus). 

PEN-Plus” strategies provide an integrated platform at first-referral level hospitals to address priority conditions such as type 1 diabetes (T1D), rheumatic heart disease (RHD), and sickle cell disease, as well as palliative care for advanced malignancies and other conditions. “PEN-Plus” approaches are also designed to complement PEN and offer an opportunity to develop the leadership needed to train, supervise, and mentor implementation and expansion of chronic care services for more common and less severe NCDs at health centres. 

Throughout the four-day technical consultation, WHO/AFRO and member states will review the accomplishments and challenges of member states to implement PEN and similar models at scale. In addition, the group will survey outcomes regarding current availability in first-level hospital care delivery for severe, chronic NCDs, preliminary WHO/AFRO Regional PEN-Plus Strategy documents, and member state led PEN-Plus operational plans. Through this process, WHO/AFRO and member states will discuss and collect expert feedback, which will inform a draft regional strategy for the African region. 

The regional consultation follows a successful introduction of “PEN-Plus” at an official side event on “Tackling the burden of hypertension and strengthening the management of severe NCDs through public health approaches” at the August 2018 WHO Regional Committee for Africa in Dakar, Senegal.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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