Rwandans have been urged to develop a culture of regular medical checkups to minimise the risks of non communicable diseases (NCDs).
“People should be tested for blood sugars, diabetes, obesity, and also avoid and work on the major factors such as smoking, too much drinking as well as improve on physical activities,” said Prof. Joseph Mucumbisti, a paediatrician, cardiologist and president of Rwanda Heart Foundation.
He said maintaining a balanced diet, exercising for at least 30 minutes and 5 times per day would keep NCDs at bay.
He was speaking in Remera, Kigali, at the launch of Rwanda Health Organisations Platform as part of the East African Non communicable Diseases Alliance (EANCDA), earlier this week.
At the same time different health stakeholders were trained to help the public in eradicating Non communicable diseases.
Mucumbisti, said all health stakeholders have a critical role in educating the community on prevention of NCDs.
“Apart from giving out information, different health personnel have been trained to handle a patient with NCDs,” he said.
He cited cardiovascular diseases among the main dangerous NCDs, killing 17.5 million people worldwide annually, with 85 percent found in the low and middle class countries, including Rwanda.
Mucumbisti pointed out that 40 per cent of Rwandans seeking medication in both private and public hospitals are suffering from non communicable diseases.
Dr Odette Nyiramilimo, a member of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), urged health stakeholders to join efforts to reduce the trend of Non communicable diseases in Rwanda.
“Today, we have the responsibility to join efforts to halt the trend of NCDs in our region. As said by Prof. Yonga Gerald, ‘if we do not take bold steps now, we are sleep walking into a healthcare disaster,” said Nyiramilimo.
She noted that the main challenge to strengthening non-communicable diseases prevention and control is lack of a wide spectrum of partners.
The lawmaker said that they will be able to work together with the East African Non communicable Diseases Alliance in advocacy.
Evarist Ntaganda, the director of cardiovascular diseases at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, called for increased access to quality health care, general knowledge about prevention of risk factors and early detection of NCDs as one of the approaches to prevent and control the diseases spread.