Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Botswana joins fight against non communicable diseases

Botswana has come on board in the global drive to tame Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a growing health crisis, which now imposes a greater global burden than infectious diseases.

The country has observed a general increase in non communicable diseases and conditions such as cancers, diabetes, cardio vascular diseases, diabetes and chronic obstructive respiratory diseases.

“We are not spared from this global crisis and if current trends continue, well before the middle of this century NCDs will be responsible for more than three-quarters of the deaths in the country,” said John Seakgosing, Minister of Health.

Seakgosing said Botswana has registered an increasing trend of NCDs from different studies and surveys with more people involved in risky behaviors such as tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.

A national survey held in 2007 among 4000 adults aged 25-64 showed that 20 percent of them were smokers, 38 percent overweight and obese and 50 percent were binge drinkers.

NCDs have taken the world by storm and are fast becoming the biggest threat to human existence. According to the world health organization report of 2005, 60 percent of all deaths in the world are due to NCDs and out of these 80 percent are from developing countries. The report further states that by 2015, if no action is taken, deaths are expected to increase in low and middle income countries.

Seakgosing said NCDs have reached epidemic proportions and they were altering demographics, stunting development and impacting on economic growth.

“The impact of the growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases is not only on the medical health, but on the economy; in direct care costs and lost productivity,” he said.

He said NCDs are a slow-motion disaster and are the diseases that break the bank if left unchecked; they had the power to devour the benefits of economic gains.

Further, he urged the nation to stand rock hard against “the despicable efforts of the tobacco industry and their highly aggressive tactics” and abuse of alcohol.

Seakgosing called for a multi sectoral approach in addressing the slow motion disaster posed by NCDs.

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