Lancet publishes NDMC’s, IHME’s collaborative burden of disease results
The oldest and most renowned journal of medical sciences, The Lancet, publishes a collaborative manuscript entitled ‘Progress in health among regions of Ethiopia, 1990–2019: a subnational country analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019′. The lead investigators of this study were Dr. Awoke Misganaw, a senior researcher and advisor of NDMC and Clinical Assistant Professor of IHME, and Professor Mohsen Naghavi of IHME. Apart from that, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Lia Taddese is the senior author of the study with Prof. Christopher Murray of IHME. States Ministers, along with, researchers and higher officials from the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, IHME, GBD collaborators, and different institutions have co-authored the study. ( https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)02868-3/fulltext)
In the technical sense, the study was part of the collaborative work between EPHI and IHME as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, and it was funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. To this day, the study can be considered as the first of its kind in identifying the major improvements and pitfalls of Ethiopia’s health sector over the last three decades. To do so, it applied data from all available data sources, and come up with tangible findings, policy recommendations, and a call to action.
The major findings of the study have shown that Ethiopia has made substantial improvements in health over the last three decades. First, it is noted that the socio-demographic index has steadily increased in all regions and cities since 1990. Except for the Somali region, there were substantial declines in total fertility rates among all regions. Second, life expectancy improved across the subnational states from 1990 to 2019, and inequality in life expectancy across the regions is decreasing despite increasing socio-demographic index disparities. Along with that, the study shows the declines in causes of premature mortality among the different regions of the country.
Given that there are achievements mentioned, the study has also identified drawbacks that need improvements. For instance, the signs of progress made by Ethiopia were not uniform across the country’s highly diverse, multi-ethnic, and predominantly rural population. Besides, social and economic determinants of health appear to be overriding concerns. In addition to that, non-communicable diseases were found among the leading causes of death for regions, and pastoralist and agro-pastoralist regions have a high burden of non-communicable diseases. Last but not least, particulate matter pollution, mainly household air pollution from solid fuels and ambient air pollution in urban areas, was found to be the first leading risk factor for high premature mortality and disability rates across regions.
Finally, the study has put forward the following key recommendations.
- Federal and regional health policymakers need to align strategies, resources, and interventions to levels of disease burden and risk factors across regions and cities to achieve national and regional plans, SDGs, and universal health coverage targets;
- Multi-sectorial transformation and coordination is required to address the social and structural drivers of health loss, and health interventions should be tailored to pastoralist, agrarian, and urban populations to address gaps in access and quality of healthcare;
- Urgent solutions are needed at a federal and regional level to address the ongoing conflicts in Tigray, Amhara, Afar, Oromia, and Benishangul-Gumuz as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, which threaten the overall health and gains in life expectancy across all regions;
- There is a need for the socio-economic development of poorer parts of the country, and quality health-care services in underserved areas.
For further references about the study, please visit the following links.
- Facebook: https://fb.watch/bLl3MZzNYW/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/IHME_UW/status/1503270957049434114
- IHME’s website article link: https://www.healthdata.org/research-article/progress-health-among-regions-ethiopia-1990%E2%80%932019-subnational-country-analysis