RESEARCHERS have requested the government to employ new measures in reducing the increasing rates of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the county, saying the current efforts are focusing on treatment and not prevention.
They argued that if more focus is on prevention, it can help reduce the big budget allocated for treatment, citing the Tanzania NCDI Poverty Commission's 2020 report which showed that Tanzania spent US Dollars 700 million in treatment of the diseases last year.
Speaking recently in Dodoma during the training for planners, policy and decision makers to use science, technology and innovation in practice and sharing selected evidence in health sector, the researchers argued that a lot more effort should be directed in preventing the NCDs.
Organised by the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), the training brought together participants from different departments and institutions within the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.
In his presentation, Dr Emmanuel Makundi from the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), noted that according to World Health Organization (WHO) the diseases contribute to 41 percent of deaths in the county.
He said in Tanzania, it is also estimated that deaths due to the diseases and other respiratory complication cases is 16 percent higher among people aged between 30 and 70 years.
"There is a need for new approaches on dealing with NCDs with more focus on prevention than treatment" he said, adding that evidence shows that the diseases affect both young and the elderly.
DrMakundi noted that there is misconception that the diseases only attack rich people who live luxurious life and the old in the developing countries but there are evidences that even the poor living in rural areas are affected.
He observed that while the government has put in place measures to help manage increase of the diseases in the country by establishing department within the ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, efforts aimed at prevention are fragmented and duplicated.
The researcher also observed that health services in relation to the diseases are very minimal, especially in the rural areas where health facilities are not easily accessible.
On the other hand, he said there was low budget allocation in the fight against NCDS, being 7.8 percent of health sector budget compared to the magnitude that is 41 percent of deaths in the county.
Prof Emmanuel Kigadye from the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), who also took part in the research, suggested the need to constitute a committee comprising of experts from key sectors to coordinate campaign on prevention and control of the disease.
He also called for the need to include knowledge of NCDs in national education curriculum at all levels of education to help spread understanding.
According to the professor, there should also be extensive public education through the media because they have a great chance of reaching many people in the county.