7 July 2018

Uganda: Government to Offer Free Cancer Screening Services At Fitness Day Launch

Photo: Wal fadjri
(file photo).

Government will Sunday offer free screening services for cancer, diabetes, yellow fever, hepatitis B and heart related diseases as President Museveni launches the National Physical Activity Day at Kololo grounds.

while addressing journalists on Friday.

Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng told journalists in Kampala on Friday that President Museveni will launch the National physical activity day starting 6am. The fitness day is aimed at informing the population about the importance of physical activity, its relevance in preventing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and keeping healthy.

"I would like to invite the general public to be here on Sunday (today) by 6am and they will be joined by the President at around 7am to launch the national fitness day," Dr Aceng said, adding that there will be lots of activities that include football, netball and aerobics.

According to the minister, President Museveni is also expected to flag off an 8 kilometre walk for those who are interested in light drills.

"We are going to have screening for cancer and heart diseases to identify those who might be having these illnesses but are not aware," the minister said, adding that there will be laboratory services to screen for yellow fever and hepatitis B.

The minister reiterated that the need to have an annual fitness day was informed by the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cancer and hypertension to lifestyle characterized by lack of physical activity among Ugandans. The day will be celebrated under the theme "my health is my responsibility".

In a recorded message to the country, President Museveni, expressed concern about NCDs' burden, saying that Ugandans no longer die of old disease like malaria but about 40 per cent of population due to NCDs.

"I am informed that the burden of non-communicable disease such as cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease and diabetes is of growing concern among our communities," President Museveni said as he implored Ugandans to embrace physical activity.

"Many people are no longer dying of old diseases like malaria and so on. Now half of deaths are from these diseases which are not infectious but are caused by life style," he added.

Citing Ministry of Health research done in 2014, 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 that life style diseases can be prevented by being physically active, saying that Ugandans are increasingly becoming physically inactive due to urbanisation characterized by use of motorised transport such as motorcycles (boda-bodas) and cars; use of computers and remote controls for electronic gadgets.

"The city people are reported to be much more inactive than those in the villages. I am informed that that 8 per cent among urban dwellers were considered physically inactive compared 3.5 per cent of the rural population," President Museveni said.

Currently, WHO recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week or 30 minutes of moderate activity per day for five days in a week in adults.

Besides being a major risk factor to NCDs, physical inactivity results into bone, joint and back problems and lack of physical fitness among others.

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