New Era (Windhoek)

3 August 2012

Namibia: Some Diseases Can Be Reduced

Windhoek — Diabetes, high-blood pressure and gout among other non-communicable diseases can easily be reduced if tackled properly by means of public education.

A three day workshop that ended yesterday on 'Strategy and Policy formulation on Non-Communicable Diseases' was held by the Ministry of Health and Social Services in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO) aimed at reducing the number of patients affected.

Non-communicable diseases programme managers Charlotte Buys and Hilde Nashandi outlined the importance of increasing the awareness of non-communicable diseases among people.

"We dealt with strategies and guidelines for the country because currently, there is nothing in place on how these diseases should be controlled, let alone prevented. Most are preventable and as a result, we coin them 'lifestyle' diseases," said Buys

Dieting and dealing with stress are associated with most 'lifestyle diseases' and if one fails to maintain a healthy mix of the two, the results can be more than catastrophic.

"We don't need to walk around with hypertension or cardiac diseases, which is why we need to put these documents in place so that we can inform people on how to deal with certain things across the country," said Nashandi.

After observing that hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol were among the 'top ten killers' in Namibian hospitals, the MoHSS decided to come up with a strategy that can be directed toward all sectors and which can trickle down to employees and encouraging them to lead healthy lifestyles.

"Eat healthy food, exercise. Those who are on treatment must drink their medication at prescribed times and follow the basic regimen so as to prevent complications. It's not a secret that high-blood pressure could cause a stroke.

If you have diabetes and don't address it properly, you could end up amputated. So we came up with the idea to make guidelines that direct people in the clinics, health centres and at work to be able to know disease prevention and those who have it will know how to manage it," reiterated Nashandi.

Once the strategy and guidelines are in place, they would contribute toward relieving the burdens in hospitals and orient each and every ministry on how to encourage healthy lifestyles for employees.

"When we are done we will engage in an awareness campaign with line ministries, and even those private sector representatives, who were not here - on what they have to do and most especially for their employees.

Also, it will assist school children, so that can they begin taking care of themselves from an early age and live a happy life without causing these diseases that sometimes take a while to develop," reasoned Nashandi.

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