The rising burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the country poses a threat to the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals of 2016 to 2030 and Vision 2036, heightening concerns within local government.
According to the Botswana Multi-Sectoral Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2018-2023 report, the prevention and control of NCDs has been prioritised.
It has been included in high-level national strategy documents such as the 11th National Development Plan (2017-2023), the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoH&W) strategy 2017-2023 and the National Essential Health Services package.
“NDC diagnosis and management has also been incorporated into the national harmonisation of community-based interventions in health, which will include standardised basic NCD prevention and control services offered by community workers,” it states.
The study further notes that as an upper-middle income country and one that has amongst the highest prevalence of HIV in the world, Botswana faces the double burden of urbanisation, which is linked to a rapid adaptation of unhealthy lifestyles therefore increasing NCD risk introduced for those living with HIV infection.
It notes that resulted in the high prevalence of NCD risk factors. It further states that according to the Botswana STEPS survey of 2014, 30.6% of adults were overweight or obese, 18.5% smoke, and 95% do not eat enough fruits and vegetables.
While that is the case, it also shows that many individuals who have NCD were undiagnosed and unaware of it.
It further indicates that STEPS 2014 SURVEY revealed 23% of those with hypertension were not aware and not on treatment.
It also says 70% of cancers reported nationally with staging information available were diagnosed at an advanced stage, which limited the impact of treatment and the chances of long-term survival.
According to Causes of Death in Botswana (WHO 2016) report, there are 47% communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions, heart diseases 18%, other NCDs, injuries and diabetes eight percent, cancers seven percent and chronic respiratory diseases at four percent.
However, the report states that the government through MoH&W’s mission is to reduce the burden of NCDs and their modifiable risk factors through evidence-based, cost effective approaches and partnerships. Its vision is a healthy lifestyle for all, free of preventable diseases or premature deaths.