9 July 2018

Uganda: Govt Shifts Health Focus to Disease Prevention

Kmpala — Government has changed its health intervention strategy to focus more on health promotion and disease prevention rather than curative measures to fight the increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The change in strategy by the Ministry of Health yesterday saw the launch of the annual National Physical Fitness Day by President Museveni at Kololo Independence grounds to raise awareness on preventing NCDs in the country.

Clad in military boots, a pair of khaki trousers, white shirt and his signature hat, President Museveni led Ugandans on a 10.5km walk that lasted about two hours through Kampala to promote physical fitness required to burn excess fats in the body.

Mr Museveni, who held his grazing stick, made stopovers to ease himself in his moving lavatory, first near Lugogo Cricket Oval and at the road that leads to Nakasero State lodge near City Square amid heavy security.

In his speech, President Museveni attributed the increasing burden of NCDs such as diabetes, cancer and hypertension to lifestyle characterised by lack of physical activity among Ugandans.

"NCDs are diseases that cannot be spread or transmitted from person to person but doctors don't know how to communicate these things and that is why I am here to help them," Mr Museveni said.

He added that Ugandans were in the past suffering from transmittable diseases such as smallpox, measles and polio but because of immunisation, these disease are no more.

"For the first time, many people are no longer dying of transmittable diseases but of what doctors call in their language noncommunicable diseases," he added.

Citing Ministry of Health 2014 research, President Museveni said one in every four adults (about 24.3 per cent) has a raised blood pressure or are taking medication for the same.

However, he said life style diseases can be prevented by being physically active and eating balanced diet in proportional amounts.

The President said Ugandans are increasingly becoming physically inactive due to urbanisation characterised by use of motorised transport such as motorcycles (boda-boda) and cars; use of computers and remote controls for electronic gadgets.

He said about 40 per cent or 40 people out of 100 people are now dying of non-communicable disease and 13 per cent die due to road accidents, nine per cent of Ugandans die in hospitals of heart diseases, cancer 5 per cent and about 4 per cent of diabetes.

"I thank the Ministry of Health. At last they have woken up and have come to sensitise us about nutrition and the need of exercises," President Museveni said.

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