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Ethiopia and Norway Unite Against Non-Communicable Diseases with the ENABLE Project Initiative

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The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) have collaborated to launch the ‘Enabling Environments for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Risk Reduction in Ethiopia (ENABLE) project.

As Ethiopia grapples with a growing burden of non-communicable diseases, projected to account for 65% of disability by 2040, there is an urgent need to address this challenge. Despite this looming crisis, Ethiopia remains ill-prepared to manage the transition. To meet Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 and curb premature mortality from non-communicable diseases, the country must prioritize the prevention and treatment of major risk factors such as malnutrition, physical inactivity, and air pollution exposure. Of particular importance is targeting pregnancy, as non-communicable diseases risk factors often emerge at younger ages and trace back to fetal life.

Dr. Eleni Papadopoulou, co-Principal Investigator at NIPH, emphasizes the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices accessible to all through the ENABLE consortium. This initiative aims to promote healthy nutrition, physical activity, and reduced exposure to toxins from an early age.

The ENABLE Project’s Strategy for Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Environmental Health

The ENABLE project will implement evidence-based interventions tailored to local communities, focusing on empowering urban populations in Ethiopia to adopt healthier lifestyles and minimize exposure to air pollution. Through the co-creation, implementation, and evaluation of the ENABLE intervention, the project seeks to provide real-world evidence on strengthening public health systems to address environmental risks and rising NCD prevalence. The program will be rolled out in four Ethiopian cities: Addis Ababa, Adama, Harar, and Jimma.

Led by Dr. Eleni Papadopoulou and Dr. Masresha Tessema, joint principal investigators, the ENABLE consortium comprises 11 partners from Europe and Africa, including national public health institutes, research universities, and non-profit organizations. Their collective expertise spans implementation science, public health epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental monitoring.

The overarching goal of ENABLE is to reduce the burden of NCDs in Ethiopia by promoting evidence-based solutions for healthy diets, physical activity, and reduced exposure to air pollution. Dr. Masresha Tessema underscores the consortium’s commitment to achieving this goal through collaborative efforts and evidence-based interventions.

Non-Communicable Diseases

ENABLE’s Holistic Health Initiative: Pioneering Change for Ethiopia’s Future

The project launch was attended by key stakeholders, including Dr. Getachew Tollera, Deputy Director General of EPHI, Dr. Adelard Kakunze from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Quentin D Sandifer, Strategic Advisor with the International Association of National Public Health Institutes. Dr. Tollera highlighted the innovative approach of integrating diet quality, physical activity, and air quality interventions in the health system, particularly targeting pregnant women.

Over the next four years, ENABLE will generate real-world evidence on the impact of behavior change interventions, NCD risk reduction strategies, and improvements in maternal and child health. By supporting healthcare providers and strengthening the Ethiopian public health system, ENABLE aims to contribute to better health outcomes for all Ethiopians.


Resource: Norwegian Institute of Public Health, February 07, 2024

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