With an estimated tuberculosis (TB) incidence rate of more than 370/100,000, Angola is one of the countries in the world with the highest rates of TB, TB/HIV and multiple drug resistant-TB, according to the World Health Organization. The country has responded by investing in TB programmes and establishing specialised clinics. But the double burden of TB and diabetes is hindering the success of these actions. An estimated 4% of Angolans have diabetes, the vast majority of them undiagnosed.

In 2014 Cuamm and WDF started a 3-year project in Angola utilising existing health systems. The aim was strengthening existing centres and introduce a sustainable screening system for diabetes and other NCDs.

In november 2016 more than 7.179 TB patients have been screened for diabetes and hypertension, of which 326 (4,5%) were diagnosed with diabetes and 1186 (16,6%) with hypertension.

This is an important result, as the clinics are often over-crowded with TB patients waiting hours for their consultation. Once a patient has registered at the clinic, they have to wait for their TB test. This time is used to sensitise them to the risks of diabetes such as diet, exercise, alcohol and tobacco. The actual test for diabetes is very quick as it is incorporated with other tests. So patients are happy to participate as they realise this is an opportunity to improve their health.”

This project has already shown that integration across health programmes – such as TB, HIV and vaccination – can successfully tackle NCDs in Sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to create synergy between systems rather than a parallel system for chronic disease management and it has been demonstrated that it is possible to introduce routine diabetes screening into other programmes diagnostic and treatment protocols.

This experience can be replicated in many African countries as it represents a cost effective way to introduce diabetes screening and is easily accessible to those already using local health clinics.

After one year from the visit of Programme Coordinators of World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) at Cuamm headquarter, last 24th of January, Cuamm was in visit at WDF headquarter.

It was an important chance to discuss these important results of the partnership and explore new activities and future perspectives.