Lifestyle diseases won’t blink twice at you – NCDs boss

Thursday is World Diabetes Day. The diseases is one of the most common non-communicable diseases in the world today. Irene Nayebare sat with Dr Marie Aimee Muhimpundu, the head of non-communicable disease (NCDs) in Rwanda Biomedical Centre, to discuss the status of Rwanda on NCDs, which are commonly called lifestyle diseases.
Dr Muhimpundu receives an award at a past conference. The New Times/ Courtesy.
Dr Muhimpundu receives an award at a past conference. The New Times/ Courtesy.

Thursday is World Diabetes Day. The diseases is one of the most common non-communicable diseases in the world today. Irene Nayebare sat with Dr Marie Aimee Muhimpundu, the head of non-communicable disease (NCDs) in Rwanda Biomedical Centre, to discuss the status of Rwanda on NCDs, which are commonly called lifestyle diseases.
 
What are non-communicable diseases?

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are conditions of long duration and generally slow progression. They are not passed from person to person. While many cannot be cured, they can be treated to minimise complications and prolong the lives of those living with the disease.

The main types of non-communicable diseases in Rwanda are cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack and stroke), cancer, chronic respiratory diseases (such as asthma), diabetes, kidney diseases, injuries or disabilities, mental illness. Eye, ear and oral diseases also share common risk factors and can benefit from common responses to non-communicable diseases.

What is the status of NCDs in Rwanda?

The 2011 Health Management Information System report shows that in all out patient consultations, 21.6 per cent were due to non-communicable diseases, and 19 per cent of total deaths were due to NCDs, excluding injuries.

What are the most common of the NCDs and what can be done to reduce it?

The cardiovascular diseases, which include heart diseases and stroke, affecting people of all ages and population groups, including women and children. It currently causes 17.3 million deaths every year, with 80 per cent of these occurring in low and middle income countries making it the world’s number one killer. 

The major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases is high blood pressure which may result from tobacco use, excessive alcohol intake, unhealthy diet (salt, oil), physical inactivity, ageing

Are there particular gender or age group prone to contracting NCDs?

Globally, more than nine million of all deaths caused by NCDs occur before the age of 60. This is why they are referred to as ‘premature deaths.’ Ninety per cent of these ‘premature’ deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Nearly 80 per cent (29 million) of all NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

What are the risk factors?

Children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors that contribute to NCDs. More men are affected. Globally, it is linked to old age but it was seen that in low and middle income countries people below 60 years old contribute for 60 per cent.

What is the government’s strategby in preventing and controlling NCDs?

The education is the best so that we create the awareness as the prevention mainly require personal behavior change. Provide the screening and checkup equipment so that people can know where they are standing as far as am concerned.

How is the dual burden of both infectious and non-communicable diseases impacting emerging the country?

In Rwanda, the fight against infectious diseases is quite advanced. Mortality and morbidity due to malaria, TB and HIV is decreasing.

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