Government is focusing more on prevention as one of its long-term solutions to addressing the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) issue, the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Dr Jeanine U. Condo has said.
Condo said this yesterday while addressing the media at a ceremony to kick off a one-week campaign aimed at raising public awareness on NCDs risk factors and how to avoid them, manage them, and the importance of early diagnosis.
She explained that while more and more people are showing up at hospitals for checkup, there was need to incorporate preventive measures into the local community’s daily lifestyles if better health is to be achieved and costs of treating the NCDs is to reduce significantly.
“Treating NCDs is expensive and the trend is not very encouraging. We are seeing young people, as young as thirty who are getting strokes and 10 per cent of children with obesity issues. We need to teach our children about proper feeding and the value of making sports part of their lifestyle,” she said.
The Mayor of City of Kigali, Marie-Chantal Rwakazina, told journalists that this year’s campaign will mainly focus on encouraging more people to go for checkup.
“We are putting in more efforts because while this is not the first time we are having this campaign, we are aiming to recruit even those who were left behind in the last campaign to come and find out where they stand when it comes to issues like diabetes, hypertension and obesity. We have brought the campaign to health centres so that more people have easier access to these tests,” she said.
She said that the city authorities and partners had brought these services to car-free day events twice a month with an aim to continue building a healthy society which is more productive.
The country’s rapid economic growth, urbanisation plus the westernisation of lifestyle are largely blamed for the rapid change in the diet, leisure activities and working conditions.
These are projected to trigger an increase in NCDs, including diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
Official statistics indicate that 15 per cent of the population has high blood pressure and this proportion rose to 40 per cent for those in the 55-64 year age group making it the most rampant NCD.
It was also discovered that most people with high blood pressure and high blood sugar were undiagnosed and were, therefor, not on medication.