The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that millions of people in Africa, Nigeria inclusive will die from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with the consolidates available data, these impending threats can be predicted because most adults in Africa have at least one risk factor that increases their chances of developing a life-threatening NCD.
Non-communicable diseases characterised by long duration and generally slow progression including cardiovascular diseases; cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are on the rise.
“The burden of illness, which has been gradually increasing over the past decade, will likely surpass the toll of sickness and death from infectious diseases by 2030” says WHO.
“Worldwide, deaths from NCDs will reach an estimated 44 million within the next four years, an increase of 15percent from WHO’s 2010 estimate.”
Odunbanjo Doyin a public health expert, say the high prevalence of health crisis Nigeria is facing is not peculiar to the country as other African countries are also reporting this rise.
“These chronic diseases are not caused or transmitted by germs. Diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cancers, and hepatitis they are now on the increase,” said Odunbanjo.
Odunbanjo further said, “So on top of the communicable diseases problem, Nigerian now have what is referred to as double burden of disease which means we are dealing with communicable and non-communicable diseases which are also on the rise and some actually believe that we may have more cases of non-communicable diseases than communicable diseases, that means they will overtake them, it those not mean communicable disease reduced necessarily but means non-communicable disease is on the increase.”
Uzochukwu Olise, a medical practitioner based in Abuja said that non-communicable diseases relies heavily on avoidance of some lifestyle risk factors, smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet (people not taking fruits and eating vegetables), and low level of exercises.
“Prevention of non-communicable diseases is diseases that are life threatening as well as weakening, and they place uncertain hardship on the people and family of those who are affected.
Olise further said, “These diseases mostly affect the women at the ages of 45-65. Adults mostly have the probability of non-infectious diseases during the course of their live.
However, the National Strategic Plan of Action by the Federal Ministry of health on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases documented since 2015, states that inadequate funding of NCD related programmes and activities, poor legislation and enforcement of laws linked to the prevention and control and a weak health system has been major barriers to tackling NCDs.
Unhealthy environmental conditions increase the risk of both non communicable and infectious diseases, which is reflected in the strong integrated nature of the Goals.
Expert says this lifestyle of unhealthy diet has caused millions of Nigerians disease such as high blood pressure, overweight, respiratory diseases, high cholesterol level and it is a huge burden where Malaria, HIV/AIDS tuberculosis and other communicable disease are.
Individuals need to take caution of their lifestyle and carryout more exercises to reduce the blood pressure and curtail the sugar level.
Odunbanjo further said, there a lot of programs are targeted at the communicable diseases, big programs with huge investment like the malaria, HIV/AIDS, eradicating polio.
“But most of us have not had about diabetes, hypertension program. so for the non-infectious we do not have focus on the financial backing, experts backing, programmatic backing as we do for the communicable diseases.
“So it will be no surprise that they are on the increase and yet they are not spending enough on them. so Nigerian will definitely have a lot of these cases to contend with as the years go by,” said Doyin.