Govt sounds alarm on rise of non-communicable diseases

26Sep 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Govt sounds alarm on rise of non-communicable diseases

THE government is set to launch a nationwide plan to contain the alarming spread of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the country.

Deputy Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Faustine Ndungulile.

This comes amid revelations that NCDs are now becoming the leading killer, being responsible for 44-percent of deaths and projected to be the cause of about 55-percent of all cases of mortality by 2025 if the situation remains as it is.

Speaking at a Research Dissemination Symposium at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Faustine Ndungulile said the plan, set for launching on October 16th in Dodoma, will include key components of health education, plus the prevention and treatment of NCDs.

“This is an alarming situation which calls for government intervention.  The problem is that most patients come when they are 70-percent  affected, so the programme will come up with strategies for civic education as well as provision of health education for lifestyle change,” said Dr Ndungulile.

The deputy minister said the increase in those cases was the sign of a health system failure in the first place, as such patients pose challenges for treatment because it takes a long time.

The first approach in the plan will be to seek data in the first phase of project implementation, like the number of Cancer cases and other diseases, to forge ways of proper intervention.

In his remarks the president of the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT), Dr Elisha Osati said the increase in NCDs has alerted medical experts and the association has prepared a strategy on how to go about it.

“Most studies conducted on NCDs have shown an alarming increase, therefore there is need for intervention from medical professionals as we are the people who handle patients on a daily basis,” he said.

Presenting a paper on the 'National burden and readiness for NCDs' researcher Dr Omary Ubuguyu from the ministry said for the country to win the battle against NCDs, a change of mindsets, lifestyles and taking a preventive approach is unavoidable.

He challenged researchers who attended the symposium to focus on setting out solutions to the lifestyle trap facing people of all walks of life, be it the educated or uneducated ones-, which increases the risk of suffering NCDs.

"NCDs are the leading cause of mortality in Africa and for Tanzania they contribute 44 per cent of all deaths. These diseases are here to stay if we will not go into action," he emphasized.

The establishment of the multi-sectoral committee and the national programme will assist in filling existing gaps, including uncoordinated community efforts.

MUHAS Vice Chancellor Prof Andrea Pembe said the faculty has a role to play through researching and advising on best practices and models to be adopted to contain the situation.

The symposium was being held under the theme: “Walking together in the prevention and control of NCDs in Tanzania.”

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