A primary healthcare approach to the management of chronic disease in Ethiopia: an example for other countries. Academic Article uri icon


  • Chronic non-communicable diseases such as epilepsy, diabetes, cardiac disease and hypertension represent a growing but neglected burden in developing countries. Rural sufferers, distant from health facilities, bear this most acutely. In response, a community care programme has been developed at Jimma University Hospital and its allied health centres in rural southwest Ethiopia. This involves general duty nurses at rural health centres being trained to provide care for chronic disease patients, with regular supervision from the hospital physicians. The programme allows treatment to be provided away from the main hospital so that those who cannot afford to travel can access care near their homes. Improved access increases the request for care, and helps to address the large unmet need for chronic disease treatment. This is a good model in which rural healthcare delivery through a team can bring widespread benefit. In this article chronic disease care is discussed with a particular focus on diabetes and epilepsy. The model can be replicated in more or less developed countries and may also be relevant for HIV care.

publication date

  • June 2007