The Project to Support the Health Sector to Manage NCDs (PASS-MNT)

For Benin to achieve its “Benin ALAFIA 20151” vision, the health sector has committed to improving the public health system for individuals and families to include the poor and destitute within its National Healthcare Development Plan (PNDS) for 2009-2018. Its successful achievement depends on the availability of qualified human resources distributed equitably across the entire country.

Consequently, human resources training, especially in the health sector, has become a primary objective around which all actors in the government and society should be mobilised. This is why Swisscontact Benin decided to implement the Project to Build Capacity of Health Agents (PRCAS) of health centres, the first phase of which spanned the period from 2009 to 2012. Based on initial trial results, it is important to build on the success of the project and expand interventions to new communities. Furthermore, the project was renewed for a second phase covering the 2013-2016 period and expanded to 17 further communities for a total of 22.

At the end of the previous phase (2013 - 2016), there were many successes, including:


  • successful on-site training of healthcare workers together with post-training monitoring
  • development of 27 advanced training modules (regarding among other things clinic admissions, prevention of infection, and maternal and infant illnesses, as well as steps to take during medical emergencies)
  • the creation of a pool of healthcare agent trainers
  • a database of specific health indicators in the intervention areas
  • training and certification of 1,667 healthcare agents
  • a database of specific health indicators in the intervention areas
  • increased health centre attendance thanks to improved service quality provided by healthcare agents


In light of these successes, much thought was given to how to manage non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at health centres in poor localities in order to reduce the burden of these NCDs at the national level. Based on the information gained, it became apparent that a project to improve prevention, screening, and care of NCDs is at once pertinent and feasible if implemented within the health trainings already conducted by the PRCAS.

In fact, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mortality from NCDs remains very high in Benin at 49.4% for men and 36.4% for women in 2008. It is expected to have increased by 17% by 2018. According to the STEPS national survey conducted in 2015, the most prominent NCD remains high blood pressure at a rate of 25.9%, with 75% of its sufferers ignoring their condition. Type 2 diabetes seems to have risen significantly, from 2.6% in 2008 to 8.4% in 2015.

In light of problems associated with NCDs and in line with national public health policy on the one hand, and in the interest of helping Benin’s health authorities to capitalise on experience made in the PRCAS on the other, PASS-MNT will be implemented from 2017 to 2020. This initiative is coming just at the right time, given the lack not only of a specific mechanism for advanced capacity building training for high blood pressure and diabetes, but also for the lack of a communication strategy in disease prevention and promotional information shared between healthcare professionals and the people.

1 Benin’s long-term development strategy document

The Project

The main objectives of the project during the 2017-2020 phase include building on the successes gained by the PRCAS in the SNIGS2 of the Ministry of Health, as well as improving health in target communities thanks to better quality health services and public sensitization campaigns on two primary NCDs (high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes).

More specifically, the project will:

  • ensure consolidation and capitalisation of successes achieved in on-site advanced professional training;
  • improve quality of care by enhancing the skills of healthcare agents, especially in the fight against high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes;
  • change popular behaviours with regard to risk factors for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.


The project’s strategic plan features two components:

The 1st component involves building on the successes of the PRCAS, more specifically:

  • steadily decreasing the dependence of the advanced professional training programme on Swisscontact funding during the first two years of the new phase (2017-2018) : from 100% in 2017 to 50% in 2018 and 0% in 2019 (costs now to be covered 100% by the Ministry of Health);
  • continuing the process of building on the successes achieved through steady transfer of responsibilities to the Healthcare Zones (“Zones de Santé”) and Departmental Health Offices (“Directions Départementales de la Santé”) for organising and implementing trainings;


The 2nd component involves improving public health in NCDs. More specifically:

  • specifying intervention areas based on needs identified by health authorities, taking into consideration the structures and mechanisms already in place (e.g. using the PRCAS infrastructure);
  • piloting projects in five small communities with progressive scaling up to eventually achieve a dozen beneficiary communities during the current 2017-2020 phase.


2 SNIGS : “Système National d’Informations et de Gestion des Statistiques Sanitaires”, or National Health Statistics Information Management System





  • Successes of the PRCAS (e.g. training modules, a pool of trainers, database, and the on-site training approach) will have been integrated into the advanced professional training programme offered by the Ministry of Health
  • Healthcare agents will be trained/retrained to offer better services
  • Healthcare staff (healthcare agents and doctors) will ensure quality screening and treatment of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Collaboration among healthcare staff in managing high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes will have improved
  • Affected populations will have adopted preventative behaviour with regard to risk factors of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes


Project countries

  • Benin

Project duration

2017 -2020


  • SDC

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97