EPHI welcomes ENABLE: a global consortium working with pregnant women in Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) have launched the ENABLE project: Enabling environments for non-communicable disease (NCD) risk reduction in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia, the second most populous African nation, faces a rapidly increasing burden of NCDs, following the trend of many other African countries. By 2040, NCDs will account for 65% of disability, yet the country is among the least prepared for this transition. To meet Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 and reduce premature mortality from NCDs, Ethiopia must focus on prevention and treatment of major risk factors: malnutrition, physical inactivity, and air pollution exposure. Prevention policies should prioritize pregnancy, as NCD risk factors emerge at younger ages and have their origins in fetal life.
"Choosing a healthy lifestyle should be accessible for all. The ENABLE consortium aims to enable, facilitate, and motivate healthy nutrition and physical activity habits while also preventing toxic exposures from early life,” says Dr Eleni Papadopoulou, co-Principal Investigator at the NIPH.
Using evidence-based interventions tailored to local communities, the project will co-create, implement, and evaluate the ENABLE intervention - a comprehensive NCD risk prevention program that empowers urban populations in Ethiopia to make healthier dietary choices, engage in physical activity and limit exposure to air pollution within an enabling environment.
ENABLE will provide real-life evidence on how to strengthen the public health systems to respond to the increasing burden from environmental risks and rising NCD prevalence. Through this process, chronic disease reductions can take place while contributing to increased productivity and welfare for future generations. The program will be delivered by health care providers to individuals and community groups in four Ethiopian cities: Addis Ababa, Adama, Harar, and Jimma.
Coordinated by the NIPH, the grant was awarded by the EU Horizon Europe Framework Programme to the ENABLE research consortium, with Dr Eleni Papadopoulou (NIPH) and Dr Masresha Tessema (EPHI) leading the effort as joint principal investigators. The ENABLE consortium is a multidisciplinary team of 11 partners from Europe (Norway, Sweden, Netherlands) and Africa (Ethiopia and Nigeria) from both national public health institutes, private and public research universities, and a not-for-profit organization.
Let’s work together to create a program that will promote healthy eating habits, increase physical activity, and reduce exposure to pollution for urban communities in Ethiopia. With your help, we can prevent NCDs and improve the health and well-being of people in Ethiopia. – ENABLE Consortium
The ENABLE consortium has been carefully selected, both as organizations and as individual scholars. Their organizational roles and responsibilities, skills, expertise, and experience, create a synergistic team with necessary and complementary disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge to cover the ambitious objectives set out for the project. This expertise encompasses complementary parts of the three main research domains: implementation science; public health epidemiology/biostatistics; and environmental monitoring and exposure assessment.
“The joint goal under ENABLE is to reduce the burden of NCDs in Ethiopia with evidence-based solutions to promote healthy diets and physical activity and reduce exposure to air pollution in a clean and health-promoting urban environment.” – Dr Masresha Tessema, co-Principal Investigator
The project launch was attended by the Deputy Director General of EPHI, Dr. Getachew Tollera, Dr. Adelard Kakunze, Lead for Non-communicable disease from Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Quentin D Sandifer, Strategic Advisor with the International Association of National Public Health Institutes. Dr Tollera welcomed all the consortium members, and gave the opening remarks for the project kick-off. In his speech, he mentioned an innovative way of combining diet quality, physical activity, and air quality as interventions in the health system in pregnant women.
Over the next four years, ENABLE will work to provide real-word evidence for the impact of implementation for behavior change, NCD risk reduction and better maternal and child health. ENABLE will support care providers for continuity and quality of overall healthcare and of NCD care and surveillance, and ultimately strengthen the Ethiopian public health system towards better health for all.