The Assistant Minister of Health, Dr Alfred Madigele has lamented the rise of non-communicable diseases in the country. Speaking during a Wellness event held by Botswana Ash (BOTASH) Mine in Sowa Town at the weekend the minister said that there is a significant rise in patients consulted in health facilities showing symptoms of non-communicable diseases.
“The four common and modifiable risk factors that increase the chances of developing non-communicable diseases are tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. Let us note that metabolic or biological factors such as high blood pressure or hypertension, overweight or obesity, raised blood cholesterol and raised blood sugar are predictors of non-communicable diseases,” he said.
Dr Madigele cautioned that globally 13 percent of deaths are attributable to high blood pressure, nine percent to tobacco use and six percent to physical inactivity and raised blood glucose. He further said physical inactivity is also the main cause of approximately 21 to 25 percent of breast and colon cancers, 27 percent of diabetes and 30 percent of ischemtic heart diseases. He said one of the key prevention and proactive methods to address these diseases is through wellness, physical activity, healthy diet and healthy lifestyle or behavior.
“Early detection has proven to be effective in saving many lives from diseases such as cancer. I therefore encourage all of you to make it a habit to do regular checks and tests, specifically to detect any of these diseases,” he added.
Touching on HIV/Aids, the Assistant Minister said it is pleasing to note that Botswana has done well in its HIV/Aids strategy. He said according to the report published by Lancet HIV, Botswana has been rated as the world’s best country in the treatment and containment of the virus that causes AIDS. He said the report shows that Botswana has by far exceeded goals for addressing the HIV crisis, well ahead of the deadline of 2020 set by the United Nations.
“We need to continue with our strategy and make sure that we do not fall back. However we still have a challenge of lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases are those that are encouraged by our way of life, that is what we eat, the rate at which we do our physical activity, awareness or consciousness of our health status,” he said.
He encouraged the participants to make it a habit to seek advice from medical practitioners if they notice anything unusual with their body. He also emphasized that it is important that everyone chooses a physical activity fit for themselves and live by it. He lauded BOTASH for its high regard for the wellness of its employees and the community of Sowa town.
“Through this event it is evident that Botswana Ash recognizes the value of wellness of its employees, their families and the community at large. I must say, a healthy and productive employee comes from a good background of a healthy and a well family, and this to a great extent is also influenced by the environment within which they live in,” said Dr Madigele.
BOTASH held a Wellness event in an endeavor to sensitize its employees and Sowa Town residents on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. The event which is held annual is a health promotion activity designed to support healthy behaviours and improve health outcomes for all. The activities for the day included health education programmes, exhibition stalls, medical screenings, on site fitness programmes and a variety of sports games.
Sowa town has a population of about 3,598 and as per the 2011 national census, it is faced by many health challenges including HIV/Aids, which according to the BIAS of 2013 stood at 19.8 percent, a drop from 25.4 percent in 2008.
The wellness event was held under the theme “Fitness, Performance and Life.”