Bontle Mbongwe, the woman who has been struggling to roll back the consumption of tobacco in the country, says that in 2011, she wants to take Botswana on the move to fight against Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which is also a global campaign.
Mbongwe said Non-communicable diseases, which include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, make the largest contribution to mortality, both globally and in the majority of low- and middle- income countries (LMCs).
Worldwide, NCDs account for 60 percent (35 million) of global deaths. The largest burden ÔÇô 80 percent (28 million) – occurs in LMCs, making NCDs a major cause of poverty and an urgent development issue.
“We have delved into this global campaign because we want to involve grass root people and ordinary people in our country to know what NCDs are and what’s causing them,” Mbongwe told the Sunday Standard.
She said the UN is set to hold a summit this year to see to it that these NCDs be included in the Millennium Development Goals.
She added that they want to have this message to the people early as children are now being affected by these NCDs because of the lifestyle they are exposed to.
“It is my wish that Botswana contributes to this global campaign to fight against these NCDs as they are very infectious and are very expensive to treat thereby adding up to poverty in the country,” she said.
Mbongwe, an anti-tobacco activist, says that because tobacco is one of the risk factors for most NCDs, she seeks to look into the impact of tobacco on NCDs, adding that, in support of this global campaign, UB, in collaboration with the Cancer Association of Botswana, the Heart Foundation, experts from the Ministry of Health will conduct a health fair scheduled for April 8, 2011 at the Main Mall to educate the public on this important area, which is evidently not given much priority.
Mbongwe said key topics at the health fair will include diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, children and NCDs.
The common risk factors for NCDs are tobacco use, obesity caused by physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.