The Point (Banjul)

11 February 2013

Gambia: Journalists Oriented On Non-Communicable Diseases

Health Promotion and Education Unit, under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare recently held a daylong sensitisation workshop for journalists from both print and electronic media on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Speaking at the ceremony held at the Central Medical Store in Kotu, Modou Njai, the Director of Health Promotion and Education, thanked the association of health journalists for their participation in the event.

While stressing the importance of reducing the burden of NCDs, he assured that they would maintain the relationship with the association, whose role is to educate and inform the public on health related matters.

For his part, Momodou Gassama of WHO Country Office explained that Tabacco kills nearly six million people each year, out of which more than five million are users and ex-users, with more than 600,000 non-smokers exposed to second hand smoke hazards.

"Tobacco cause 100 million deaths in the 20th century, if current trends continue it will cause up to one billion deaths in the 21st century and over 40% of children have at least one smoking parent," he said.

According to him, globally 320,000 young people, aged 15 to 20 years die annually from alcohol related causes, resulting in 9% of all deaths in that age group.

Lamin Giana, head of national cancer registry at MRC told journalists that cancer is the abnormal growth of body cells, noting that the disease is caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the body.

This, he explained, is divided into two malignant tumors, which are life-threatening and benign tumor, which are non-life-threatening.

He disclosed that, WHO report in 2008 has stated that cancer is a leading cause of death, accounting for 7.6 million deaths around 13% of all deaths.

Alhagie Kinteh, officer commanding police medical unit, who enlightened the participants on road traffic accidents prevention and control, deliberated on the dangers posed by the use of mobile phones when driving, drinking, over-speeding, un-licensing driving, refusing to obey traffic lights, among other things. He then urged for attitudinal change to prevent road traffic accidents on the highways.

Dr. Lamin Bojang of the RVTH said "NCD is a disease that has prolonged causes and is not curable." He concluded by saying that it is everybody's concern.

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