By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Rebecca Moeti, has called on all Member states to prioritise Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which she said are silently killing Africans from all walks of life.
Speaking during the 68th session of the WHO\AFRO meeting in Dakar, Senegal, Moeti lamented that African Region has the highest level of hypertension in the world with about 30% of adults suffering from the disease.
A statement issued yesterday by Boade Akinola, the Director, Media and Public Relations, in Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, said the WHO Regional Director added that “the growing trend of adult onset of Diabetes and obesity reaching epidemic proportions among women in Sub-Saharan Africa, and about 150, 00 deaths from tobacco related diseases have been recorded.”
Dr. Moeti therefore urged Member States to intensify pursuit of some proven public health policies and strategies to address the NCDs such as ‘increased taxation banning advertising, having mandatory health warnings for tobacco co products and alcohol, and most importantly engaging other sectors such as Trade that play such important role in this work’.
Reacting to the call by WHO Regional Director for Africa, Nigerian Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, according to the statement said “Nigeria is committed to tackling these group of diseases by implementing appropriate and effective policies and strategies.”
He added that a lot has been achieved in restricting illicit tobacco trade and enforcing anti-tobacco legislations. He assured that with the implementation of the Step Survey, “we would be able to accurately determine the burden of NCD in Nigeria”.
He said Nigeria is currently discussing with WHO on the conduct of a pilot project to treat all hypertensives in Ogun and Yobe States. “President’s support to the health sector is unprecedented and would ensure the attainment of Universal Health Coverage he concluded.”