A renowned cardiologist and the Vice President, Scientific Affairs of the Nigeria Non-Communicable Diseases, NCD, Alliance, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye has said that COVID-19 has exposed Nigeria's lack of commitment to the course of Non-Communicable Diseases, lamenting hypertension and diabetes among others are fuelling deaths of victims of the virus.
To this end, Nigeria, NCD Alliance, and 19 others have been awarded $300,000 to address the critical needs of people living with it during this period of COVID-19.
Akinroye who spoke at a press conference in Lagos noted that available reports in Nigeria have shown that hypertension, diabetes, cancer, HIV, and other cardiovascular diseases were responsible for the majority of COVID-19 deaths recorded so far. He said the years of lack of commitment to the course of NCDs has come back to haunt the nation.
Stating that people with NCDs are more vulnerable to COVID-19, and may likely die from it, he disclosed that it accounts for 29 per cent of deaths in Nigeria.
Speaking at the media launch of the first Civil Society Solidarity Fund on NCDs in response to COVID-19, he urged the Federal Government to begin to strengthen the country's healthcare system by increasing awareness, providing access to care and treatment as well as budgeting more money for NCDs care and management.
He urged the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 to procure mobile vans for more lab testing in the grassroots as well as providing free hypertensive drugs for people living with hypertension since they are more vulnerable,
On the grants, Akinroye explained that the fund would support the NCD Alliance Nigeria in addressing the critical needs of people living with it during the pandemic through advocacy and communication activities that would support stronger organisational stability and resilience.
"Out of the money, regional and national NCD Alliance will get up to $15,000 to support them to address c the critical needs of people living with NCDs during COVID-19 via advocacy and communication activities that will support stronger organisational stability and resilience"
"Activities in Nigeria will include the development of a database of people living with NCDs in Lagos, Osun, and Federal Capital Territory and by NCD area of focus. Also, establishment and support for people living with NCDs with skills and knowledge, and connect them to NCD Alliance Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation and State Ministry of Health in the four states," he added.
He further stated that they would build capacity for people living with NCDs on advocacy for their rights to health, prevention, access to treatment and care; provision of support, and empowerment.
The NCD Alliance plans to develop a directory and database in the states by area to focus on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, sickle cell disease, respiratory diseases, and mental health. The Fund was made possible through the NCD Alliance's supporters; The Leona M and Harry B.HelmsleyCharitable Trust, Access Accelerated, Takeda, Astrazeneca, and Upjohn Pfizer.