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FG urged to prioritise national COVID-19 response

People living with non-communicable diseases (PLWNCDS) have urged the Federal Government to prioritise pandemic response in helpful frameworks, saying with over 90,000 Covid cases and counting in Nigeria, the second wave of coronavirus infections is anticipated to impact the population in drastic ways.

“PLWNCDS are more vulnerable and susceptible to the Covid-19 virus and it has been confirmed that they are at substantially higher risk of becoming severely ill and die as a direct consequence of this pandemic,” said Timi Edwin, a lead advocate for the PLWNCDS.

Edwin said as the second wave of Covid-19 hits the country, there is still time to prevent the worst-case scenarios.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to prioritise a national Covid-19 response, especially in non-communicable diseases and take the following urgent actions as supporting and protection of PLWNCDS is everyone’s business.”

“We urged that lead efforts through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) should create a local coordinating mechanism to direct resources, including a vaccine, where most needed and make people living with non-communicable diseases a priority on the list of those to get the vaccines when they are made available, as they have underlying health conditions that cannot tolerate the coronavirus,” she said.

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Non-communicable diseases are the leading causes of death and disease worldwide. They are medical diseases that are non-transmittable and have no ability to be infectious among people.

However, non-communicable diseases are the most common cause of death and disability worldwide, accounting for more than 70 percent of all deaths. Above three – quarters of these deaths occur in developing countries, four out of five die before the age 50.

The main non-communicable diseases include cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, mental health, and sickle cell disease and neurological disorders such as dementia.

According to Edwin, due to the need for support and protection of PLWNCDS for this reason, the NCD Alliance Nigeria formed an arm known as the People Living with NCDS (PLWNCDS) to serve as a high-level advocacy group aimed at influencing government policies, creating change and improving the quality of life of those living with NCDS within Nigeria.

“While it is obvious that a lot of government hospitals are overburdened, understaffed and under-equipped, the PLWNCDS are making a cry to the government to build more hospitals, equip existing hospitals, as well as train personnel of primary health centres across the federation,” she said.

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