The objective of EPN’s Non-communicable Diseases programme is “to promote awareness of NCDs and facilitate increased access and rational use of affordable quality-assured medicines for NCDs.” Eighty percent (80%) of annual deaths attributable to NCDs occurs in low- and middle income countries and NCDs such as ischemic heart disease, diabetes and cancer contribute 49,8% of the disease. In Sub-Saharan Africa NCDs are expected to be the leading cause of death and disability in the region by 2030. Expenditure on medicines is one of the highest components of household health-related expenditures. NCDs usually require chronic treatment, which can put an enormous strain on household budgets and cause catastrophic health expenditures.
EPN seeks to implement activities that will increase access to and appropriate use of affordable quality-assured medicines to treat NCDs. This will help to reduce the financial and health burden on households and the health system, and improve the quality of life for those afflicted with NCDs. EPN promotes the adoption and implementation of policies for the prioritization and rational selection of medicines, including palliatives, for NCDs. Further we build capacity of partner DSOs for procurement and supply of NCD medicines and promote pricing control and the prescribing of generic medicines for NCDs. We will establish quality assurance systems to monitor and increase the quality of locally manufactured generic medicines to treat NCDs. Lastly EPN develops information packages for rational diagnosis, treatment guidelines and training of health workers, to facilitate increased access to NCD treatments and medicines.