What is ‘PEN-PLUS’ strategy?

Recently Africa adopted a pen-plus strategy at the 72nd session of the Regional Committee of the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) held in Lomé, Togo.

What is PEN-PLUS strategy ?

  • PEN-PLUS is basically a regional strategy to address serious non-communicable diseases at first level referral health facilities.
  • This strategy supports capacity building of district hospitals and other first class referral facilities for early diagnosis and management of serious non-communicable diseases, resulting in reduction in mortality.
  • The strategy urges countries to establish standardized programs to combat chronic and serious non-communicable diseases to ensure that essential medicines, technologies and diagnostics are available and accessible in district hospitals.

What is Non Communicable Disease?

A disease which does not result from the presence of pathogens and may result from the imbalance in the dietary constituents, general wear and tear of tissues and uncontrolled growth of tissues, metabolic disorders or injury to any part of the body is called non communicable disease.

  • The non-communicable diseases include heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, asthma, Anemia, Polycythemia, Leucopenia, Hodgkin’s Disease etc.
  • Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
  • Each year, more than 15 million people die from a NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; 85% of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • In Africa, the most prevalent severe non-communicable diseases include sickle cell disease, type 1 and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes, rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, severe hypertension and moderate to severe and persistent asthma.

Status of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in India

According to the WHO report, In India, nearly 5.8 million people die from NCDs (heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes) every year or in other words 1 in 4 Indians has a risk of dying from NCD before they reach the age of 70.

The major NCDs are heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol are the main behavioral risk factors for NCD.

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