The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has adopted proactive approach to tackle Non Communicable Diseases NCDs) with strong emphasis on prevention.
The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammed Pate, said this in an interview with our reporter on Thursday in Abuja.
It was reported that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), NCDs account for 29 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria, with premature mortality from the four main NCDs — hypertension, diabetes, cancer and malnutrition.
Premature mortality from the main NCDs accounts for 22 per cent of the deaths.
Pate said the burden of infectious diseases such as malaria, diphtheria, and measles continued to persist, while NCDs like hypertension, diabetes, cancers, kidney disease, and strokes were on the rise.
Recognising the need for preventive measures, he said, the federal government would be implementing strategies to promote healthier lifestyles and regulate harmful substances.
He said that prevention would be a comprehensive and evidence-based strategy to effectively tackle the risk factors associated with NCDs in the country.
He said that the proactive approach included implementing policies and programmes that would aim at promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing the prevalence of risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol.
He appealed to state governments on the need to create awareness and educate citizens on the importance of healthy behaviours and making healthy choices in their communities.
The minister highlighted the importance of multi-sectoral collaboration in addressing NCDs in the country.
He called for partnerships between the government, civil society organisations, the private sector, and international agencies for the implementation of effective prevention and control measures across the country.
He also stressed the significance of community engagement and empowerment in promoting behaviour change and sustainable health outcomes.
He called for continued investment in healthcare infrastructure, including primary healthcare facilities to ensure access to quality and preventive services.
He highlighted factors contributing to the NCD situation in the country such as urbanisation and changing lifestyles.
According to him, this have led to increased consumption of unhealthy foods, reduced physical activity, and higher rates of smoking and alcohol consumption.
He said that access to healthcare, especially for the prevention and management of NCDs, could be challenging, particularly in rural areas, noting there was a need for citizens who were of age to regularly check their blood pressure.
He said that there was also a need for better public awareness and education regarding the risks and prevention of NCDs.
The minister said that the federal government has initiated various programmes to address NCDs, including the integration of NCD services into primary healthcare.
He called on Nigerians to reduce significant modifiable risk factors including cigarette use, hazardous alcohol consumption, poor diets, and lack of physical activity.
“Nigerians need high food and beverage standards, more excellent physical activity in schools and workplaces, air quality monitoring, and smoke-free zones will help to avoid NCDs at all stages of lives,” he said.
He recognised the need to shift the focus from treatment to prevention, as this approach could significantly reduce the incidence and impact of NCDs on individuals and the healthcare system as a whole.
“These diseases are responsible for a significant proportion of deaths and disabilities worldwide, including in Nigeria,” he said.
He highlighted the importance of early detection and timely intervention in managing NCDs and reducing the impact on individuals and the healthcare system of the country.