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Non-Communicable Diseases

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To address growing rates of diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and cancer across Africa, Seed and our partners are building some of the continent’s first-ever family medicine programs, bringing much-needed versatility to the health workforce.

The Challenge

This year, the World Health Organization announced that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and cancer are on the rise across sub-Saharan Africa, and have become the single leading contributor to mortality rates. However, the expansion of training for health care workers to manage these diseases has not happened as quickly as the shift in the burden of disease.

Countries with strong primary health care systems, centered on skilled family medicine physicians, have better outcomes, increased patient satisfaction, less hospitalization, and lower costs. Their clinical and public health training allows them to be incredibly versatile in health care settings with emerging threats.  A family medicine doctor is trained to diagnose and treat 80 percent of patient cases that might present in a district facility, and to refer only the more advanced cases to specialists in centralized hospitals, creating efficiencies in the health system and providing comprehensive care close to patients’ homes.

Seed’s Unique Approach

Seed is training some of the first family medicine doctors in two countries in sub-Saharan Africa to respond to this shifting burden of disease and bring much-needed versatility to the health workforce. Seed’s family medicine partnerships in Malawi and Zambia are groundbreaking and have the potential to significantly strengthen primary care in both countries.

To advance the specialty and reach to patients in both countries, Seed has works in partnership with local universities, governments, and professional associations to advance new curricula and standard-of-care guidelines for primary care and family medicine and leverages our teaching hospital model to train emerging practitioners on how to provide a continuum of care that is comprehensive, longitudinal, and community-oriented.

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Impact Spotlight

  • 200 chemotherapy clinic patients a year
  • In response to community needs, Seed’s family medicine partnership at Mangochi District Hospital in Malawi opened a Pacliataxel chemotherapy clinic in 2020 that both trains emerging health professionals on offering high-quality care to cancer patients and provides treatment to more than 200 patients each year.
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