April 26, 2016

Burden of non-communicable diseases in Nigeria will increase except…

Burden of non-communicable diseases in Nigeria will increase except…

• Search for a universal malaria vaccine has been on for several years. The World Health Organisation, WHO, says malaria vaccines are considered amongst the most important modalities for potential prevention of malaria disease and reduction of malaria transmission.

By Gabriel Olawale

The Federal Ministry of Health has expressed worry over the possible increase in the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases, NCDs in the country if attempts to sharpen control strategies fail.

Speaking at the Nigerian Heart Foundation, NHF, 2016 National Summit, the Minister of Health, Prof. Issac Adewole, said the success recorded through  establishment of the NCD control programme, would amount to nothing without the support of Nigerians to strengthen the surveillance system.

Adewole, who was represented by the Director General, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, Prof, Innocent Ujah, said NCDs are responsible for 63 percent of all deaths globally out of which Nigeria accounts for 27 percent.

“It is well documented that unhealthy diet, tobacco use, harmful alcohol intake, and physical inactivity are the major clustering risk factors for the development of cardiovascular and other NCDs.

“These risk factors are aggravated by poor awareness, harmful cultural practices, beliefs and misconceptions by the public.

“The population now consumes excess red meat, saturated fat, salt, refined sugars and drinks. There is also observed inadequate intake of fibre-rich food, vegetables and fruits in the population.”

On his part, the President of NHF, Prof O.O Akinkugbe reaffirmed the Foundation’s commitment to promotion of heart-healthy diets to halt NCDs that is becoming increasingly significant cause of disability and premature death in the country.

“This Summit intends to support the World Health Organisation’s target of reducing heart attack and stroke by 25 percent through provision of practical tools to prevent cardiovascular disease.  We are also going to issue a consensus statement on the controversial issues of the relationship between lipids and cardiovascular health in the Nigerian population.”

The most prevalent NCDs in Nigeria are cardiovascular diseases, which account for 12-15 per cent of total deaths across all age groups. Cancers, non-communicable variants of respiratory diseases and diabetes contribute significantly to total mortality in the country every year.