Botswana: Joint Efforts Crucial in Fight Against NCDs

Gaborone — Concerted efforts are needed to protect people today and in the future from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and their causes, says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Lemogang Kwape.

Officially opening a global conference on NCDs in Gaborone November 19 , Dr Kwape said the most identified drive of NCD epidemics included urbanisation and changes in lifestyle associated with developing countries.

Such lifestyle, he said included changes in diet, physical activity, smoking, obesity and alcohol use.

He said according to the 2014 Steps Survey undertaken in partnership with World Health Organisation (WHO) that assessed the burden of NCDs risk factors in Botswana, 30 per cent of Batswana were obese, 18.5 per cent binge drinkers and 26 per cent current drinkers while insufficient fruit and vegetables intake is over 94 per cent.

However, he said most of the causes were preventable through collaboration among government, academia, private practitioners or the business community.

"My ministry in collaboration with National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA) launched the Botswana Multi-sectoral National Strategy for the prevention and control of NCDs (2018-2023).

The strategy not only consolidates and focuses the country's efforts in mitigating the burden of NCDs in Botswana, but also gives equal opportunity to all players with special emphasis on building sustainable community response mechanism in fighting NCD risk factors," he said.

He said other organisations with similar intentions could help to avert most NCDs.

Dr Kwape called for increased advocacy to stop tobacco use and smoking cessation, reduction of salt and sugar intake, increased service coverage for severe mental health disorders, intensification of screening for cervical cancer as well as coming up with targeted interventions for those affected.

He said the ministry was working on the amendment of certain laws adding, "we will also be working on the syntax with a view to regulate the intake of some of these harmful products".

Meanwhile, it is reported that NDCs accounted for seven out of the top 10 causes of death globally.

Hypertension, stroke, cancer, asthma and diabetes had been described as a threat to the socio-economic development of the country and the world, especially developing countries.

It was against such backdrop that Health First, a health education and promotion company based in Francistown, organised the global conference.

The conference was held under the theme, 'protecting current and future generations from non-communicable diseases (NCDS) through quality practice and management in health care, research and education'.

At the same conference, Ms Bame Shatera of National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA) said the envisaged strategy would focus on the four major NCDs that accounted for 82 per cent of NCD-related deaths as well as the four common modifiable risk factors they were associated with which included smoking, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.

The conference was attended by experts from government and private health sector as well as community leaders.

The aim was to share information about NCDs, their impacts and to combat the pandemic as well as to find ways of tackling the problem.

Source : BOPA

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