By Abooluwa Famakinwa, Akure
As a demonstration of the commitment of the Ondo State Government to the provision of effective and qualitative health care to residents of State, the Ondo State Government has launched an outreach programme to create awareness on non communicable diseases.
While declaring open the one day sensitization and free screening programme, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro said awareness creation for these non communicable disease became necessary, becuase they have been neglected and are silent killers which causes about 70% of deaths worldwide.
Dr. Adegbenro emphasized that these diseases though non infections and cannot be transmitted from one person to the other, account for over 40 million deaths every year and is more rampant in low and middle income countries like Nigeria.
He highlighted the most common of these silent killer and chronic disease which could last for a long time to include; cancer, cardiovascular disease such as Hypertension and Diabetes.
The Health commissioner explained that the causes of these non communicable diseases are combination of genetic, psychotically and environmental factors with such risk factors as unhealthy diets, lack of physical activities, smoking and second hand smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
Dr. Adegenro added that though these diseases are more associated with older people but about 15 million out of the 40 million annual deaths occur among people of between ages 30-69 years and more rampant in communities where preventive health is lacking.
He therefore urged residents to take and advantage of the various government programmes geared at availing the people access to qualitative and affordable health and make routine and regular check up a life style as this will safeguard the health of the people.
The health commissioner promised that the awareness creation and free screening programme will be become more regular and those that tested positive will be referred for onward treatment in hospitals.
The non communicable disease programme officer, Mrs. Kofoworola Jegede gave a talk on the NCD awareness outreach initiative in which she traced the transition of Non Communicable disease from being a problem of the affluent countries to also being a challenge of sub-saharan African countries such as Nigeria due to globalization, changing-demographic dynamics, affluence and change in the pattern of food consumption.
Mrs. Jegede said the lack of mention of NCDs in the Millennium Development goals despite its rising trend, rise in the number of people slumping due to stress, lack of attention to personal health care, poor feeding habit, lack of rest and exercise are some of the reasons the Ondo state Government decided to launch the awareness out-reach to forestore unnecessary deaths of its residents.
Packaged in the outreach according to the programme officer are sensitization talks on causes and prevention of NCDs, after which free blood pressure and blood sugar test were done for participants and referral done for those found with the NCDs.
The stage Epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi gave an extensive talk on Hypertension and diabetes and said the diseases can be managed perfectly if patients will do what their physician instructs them to do.
He outlined some of the side effects of Hypertension to include; stroke, blindness, renal failure, heart attach among others while appealing to people who are 40 years and above to make it a habit to constantly do medical check up as this will elongate their life’s.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Dipo Durojaye said the cost of NCDs which could undermine productivity and result in capital and labour loss are unbearable thus calls for innovative solutions such as the awareness outreach which the ministry has mapped out to check the menace of the silent killers.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director Public Health, Dr. Ayodele Adelusi said tackling the challenges of NCDs goes beyond the health ministry thus all hands must be on deck to put it at bay.
Beneficiaries of this government gesture include; civil servants, teachers, market women, fashion designers, hairdressers, industrial gas association, transport unions, NGOs, service organizations such as Lions Club International.