As NCD Alliance launches newsletter
By Chioma Obinna
With the prevalence of hypertensive diseases increasing to 40 percent among Nigerians in 2021, Executive Director, Non-Communicable Diseases, NCD Alliance Nigeria, Prof Akin Osibogun, has stressed the need to combat all forms of discrimination against people living with NCDs.
To this end, the NCD Alliance, Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos launched a newsletter that would galvanise the voices and views of People Living with Non Communicable Diseases, PLWNCDs.
Osibogun who spoke at the media presentation of the newsletter also identified challenges facing Nigerian PLWNCDs to include high costs of treatment, diagnosis, care, discrimination and stigma.
Osibogun who is a Professor of Public Health at the College of Medicine University of Lagos noted that it has become urgent to combat NCDs as recent reports have shown that NCDs are the major cause of death in Nigeria.
Stating that the country was facing a dual prevalence of diseases, he said: “Many NCDs are chronic in nature and will require long-term expenses.
“In 1990s the prevalence of hypertensive disease among Nigerians was 10 percent but the prevalence in Nigeria in ages 18 and 65 in 2021 is now between 35 and 40 percent. Between 1990 and 2021 the hypertensive disease pattern in Nigeria has changed, we are now also facing an epidemic of both non communicable and communicable diseases.”
Osibogun called for more awareness on the challenges faced by people living with NCDs.
Throwing light on the benefits of the newsletter, Osibogun explained that without the experiences of people living with NCDs, it would be challenging to deliver inclusive people-centred healthcare for them.
Many patients were still faced with the high costs of diagnosis, treatment and care as well as discrimination.
He recalled that the NCD Alliance had been involved in advocacy with government and other stakeholders at all levels to get therapeutic drugs required for the treatment of NCDs at reasonable prices into the country.
He said PLWNCDs should be able to access treatment and drugs at a cost that will not send them into poverty.
He added that the newsletter would encourage people living with NCDs to stand up against discrimination and afford the government and the society to get better understanding of their feelings and pains.
“It will also help the stakeholders to understand as well as plan properly for them and create access to treatment and care among others.”
Speaking, President of NCD Alliance, Nigeria, Dr Sonny Kuku said the newsletter would promote issues around NCDs as well as create awareness about NCDs and the challenges facing patients.
“The newsletter published by lead champions of PLWNCDs was to bring patients together under a common umbrella, promote NCD advocacies and give voice to millions of patients for treatment and care.
On his part, the Editor of the newsletter, Mr Michael Uchunor, noted that people living with NCDs needed to be heard and understand.
He urged the government to pay more attention to the patients by ensuring drug affordability, removal of discrimination and creation of job opportunities.
“Many of us do not have money to buy drugs.
“Access to inclusive schools and job opportunities are other major problems.
“We must voice out and tell the government and other stakeholders to come to our aid. Government must hear our voices and make life easier for us.”