Amref wants non communicable diseases declared national disaster
Amref Health Africa has called on the national government to declare Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) a national disaster due to the high number of deaths and hospital admissions recorded in the country.
Speaking on Wednesday during 2nd Universal Health Conference in Nyeri, Amref Health Africa Country Director, Meshack Ndirangu said that over 50 percent of deaths in the country are related to NCDs and that u pto 70 percent of deaths globally could be from the same by 2020.
Ndirangu noted that deaths occurring in the country as a result of NCDs have surpassed the margin that was caused by HIV during the Mwai Kibaki regime when the latter was declared a national disaster.
“If the president did it for HIV, what stops us as a country from recognizing non Communicable Diseases as a national disaster?” he posed.
The Director said most deaths from the diseases occur among people below the age of 40 due their poor eating habits and intake of highly processed foods and beverages.
He said that the young people are a key factor in attaining Universal Health Care (UHC), noting that they can be educated and sensitized on avoiding foods and beverages with high percentage of chemicals.
The Kisumu Governor, Prof. Any’ang Nyong’o noted that one of the challenges faced in attaining UHC is private health facilities, noting that they make business out of ailments.
“Private health facilities in the country thrive through commercializing sicknesses. People do business with other people’s health,” he noted
The Governor said that county governments should embark on using grassroots leaders to reach more people and making sure they are registered for proper distribution and purchase of drugs.
At the same time, he called on county assemblies to come up with laws that will aid in the implementation of UHC agenda.
“In Kisumu, we have improved and empowered our community health workers by paying them a salary every month,” Nyong’o said
On his part, Makueni Governor, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana said emphasis should be in ensuring that NHIF is accessible to all and especially the most vulnerable in society.
He called for effective disbursement of funds to all the 47 counties to enable them devolop programs aimed at pushing the enrollment of NHIF.
The Nyeri Deputy Governor, Caroline Karugu said NCDs should declared a county disaster, noting that out 10 people who die in the region, 8 of them succumb to non-infectious illnesses that cannot be transferred from one person to another.
By Beth Ndirangu