Health dept to launch plan to fight non-communicable diseases

Monday, March 18, 2013

Boksburg - The Department of Health will next month formally launch its strategic plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said on Monday.

“On 7 May, on World Health Day, we will formally launch our strategic plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013 - 2016. This plan will be what we intend to do in order to reach targets. It has timeframes in order to reduce NCDs and their risk factors,” said Motsoaledi.

The minister was speaking on the first day of a three-day multi-stakeholder dialogue on addressing risk factors for NCDS in the African region.

In his opening address of the World Health Organisation (WHO) dialogue, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Luis Sambo, told delegates that Africa faced a rapidly increasing burden of NCDs, alongside the continued threat of communicable diseases.

The main NCDs in the region include diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, mental disorders and cardiovascular diseases, among others.

Additionally, the African region remains the only WHO region where communicable diseases still account for more deaths than no-communicable diseases, according to a 2010 global status report.

In 2008, about 2.8 million deaths were attributed to NCDs and this is projected to increase by 27% over the next 10 years.

The main risk factors associated with NCDs are tobacco use, alcohol abuse, an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.

Sambo said NCDs posed a serious threat to the health and welfare of people in the African region.

“We have no option but to put more effort into the prevention of diseases and promotion of health,” said Motsoaledi, who described the onslaught of NCDs as a “tsunami”.

South Africa is working on the establishment of the National Health Commission.

“We are establishing it specifically to target risk factors responsible for NCDs,” said Motsoaledi, adding that the commission is to be constituted by various experts, including the minister himself.

Motsoaledi called on African countries to learn from each other.

The dialogue concludes on Wednesday. -