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Analytical summary - Non-communicable diseases and conditions

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In the context of the epidemiological transition in Ethiopia, a double burden of disease is already emerging with the mix of persistent infectious diseases and increasing noncommunicable diseases and injuries. Noncommunicable diseases and injuries are already major contributors to the high morbidity and mortality burden of the country.

The prevalence of noncommunicable diseases is increasing, owing to lifestyle changes. Among these diseases, hypertension is the seventh leading cause of mortality.[1] Cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and cancer are the leading chronic diseases, with significant contribution to the overall mortality rate.[2] Chronic diseases, along with injuries and cancer, accounted for nearly 30% of all deaths in 2005.[3]

However, the burden of chronic diseases, including cancers and chronic kidney disease, is believed to be underestimated due to the lack of reliable data and the lack of disease registration systems such as a cancer registry or a chronic kidney disease registry.[2]

The prevalence of mental health problems ranges from 3.5% to 17% and is dominated by, and rising in, the female population.[3]

Injuries are becoming a serious threat to the health and well-being of society. Homicide and purposely inflicted injuries are the second leading causes of outpatient visits for females and the fourth leading cause overall in the population. Violence is also a major reason for the high burden of injuries. Nearly 10% of Ethiopia’s population has a disability but less than 10% of those in need of rehabilitation have access to appropriate services.[4]

One of the key steps for prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases is to design and develop a national strategy to guide and control activities at all levels. Hence, a draft strategy has been developed and is being supported by all stakeholders. A strategy for expansion of mental health services is also under development and a strategy document on prevention and control of major noncommunicable diseases has been contracted out. A 3-year strategic plan highlighting issues related to accidents and medical emergencies was prepared in 2008 and has now been distributed.[2]


  1. Health and health-related indicators, 2008. Addis Ababa, Government of Ethiopia, Ministry of Health, 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Government of Ethiopia, Ministry of Health, web portal
  3. 3.0 3.1 WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2008–2011 Ethiopia (pdf 616.72kb). Brazzaville, World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, 2008
  4. World health statistics, 2010. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2010