Non-Communicable Diseases in COVID-19 Pandemic era

Posted On: 2021-04-09 09:15:51

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread across the world has hampered countries' ability to address and respond to NCDs. The virus has caused widespread delays in health care while also drawing attention to countries' NCD burdens. People living with NCDs are more vulnerable to becoming critically ill and even death with the COVID-19. The disruption of health services is especially critical for those who suffer from NCDs and need daily treatment.(1)

Rwanda is on track to achieve global Sustainable Development Goal 3.4, which aims for a one-third reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2030. Even so, according to recent data, NCDs account for more than 70% of all COVID-19-related deaths in the country.(2)

Through the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, the Ministry of Health did all possible to avoid disruption in access to essential medicines for NCDs like insulin. MOH/RBC partnered with civil society organizations (Rwanda NCD Alliance members) in outreach programs and awareness campaigns. Moreover, an innovative physical activity promotion and NCD education campaign was initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic, using a “TV Fitness Show” aired on social media at the same time. It was launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and TV companies to replace the “Car Free Day” mass sports activities during the pandemic. During the current nationwide vaccination rollout, priority is also being given to people with underlying chronic conditions, including NCDs, among other vulnerable groups.(3)

During the pandemic period, COVID-19 and NCDs are coupled as a "syndemic" that reinforces each other and disproportionately affects the most vulnerable populations. Understandably, COVID-19 deaths can be lowered if NCDs are prevented, treated, and reduced.(4)

It will be imperative for the government to ensure that people living with NCDs do not face disruptions of critical health services during the pandemic and after the crisis to rebuild healthier health systems. NCD prevention and management is a crucial strategy for improving population health and reducing the impact of future crises.(1)


1. The impact of the covid-19 pandemic on NCDs resources and services. 

2. Rwanda Leads Efforts To Reduce Premature Deaths From Non-Communicable Diseases.

3. Andersen, H. & Agnew, A. Vaccinating Africa: What Governments Can Learn From Rwanda’s Effective Rollout.

4. The COVID-19 And NCD Syndemic: Experiences From Rwanda, The UK, And India - Health Policy Watch.

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Posted On: 2022-05-07 21:14:57