17 November 2012

Zambia: Minister Raises Red Flag On Alcohol Abuse

Health Minister Joseph Kasonde has urged Zambians to reduce on consumption of alcohol and instead ensure a balanced diet to reduce the risk of contracting non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.

Dr Kasonde said non-communicable diseases such as diabetes were caused by lifestyle factors that could be changed.

The minister was speaking during the commemoration of the World Diabetes Day in Lusaka yesterday.

Dr Kasonde said health education and sensitisation of people on non-communicable disease such as diabetes risk factors was critical, so that lifestyle could change.

"Eating a balanced diet can help us maintain a healthy weight which reduces our risk of developing diabetes and other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and cancers, being physically active also helps to control weight and keeps our heart strong," Dr Kasonde said.

Dr Kasonde said it was important to raise awareness on non-communicable diseases so that everyone could play a role in addressing the challenge.

He said Government recognised the importance of early detection of diseases and subsequently prompt an appropriate management.

The minister said by equipping individuals with knowledge and skills to manage their own condition, they will be empowered to achieve effective management of chronic conditions.

"Government alone cannot solve all the problems which our country is facing, I therefore implore the private sector and individual to come together and combine efforts in order to win the fight against diabetes," Dr Kasonde said.

Diabetes Association of Zambia president Susan Tembo said investment in research and health systems has been slow to respond to the increasing burden of non infectious diseases.

She implored Government to create an environment and conditions that were conducive to achieving and maintaining an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits.

Dr Tembo said young people were a driving force for the promotion and dissemination of education and prevention messages.

"There is need to intensify public sensitisation programmes that will inform and education Zambians on health lifestyles and exercise," Dr Tembo said.

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