The Federal Government has raised an alarm over the rising cases of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, raised the alarm on Tuesday in Abuja at the Inaugural meeting of the National Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) Governing Council.
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“It is interesting to know that NCDs which were previously not very common in Nigeria and erroneously believed to be diseases of the affluent have now become prevalent due to globalization and demographic transition of diseases.
“Risk factors that fuel these diseases such as, tobacco use, air pollution, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet laden with salt and Trans-fat, physical inactivity/sedentary life style and obesity are largely avoidable,” Mustapha said.
According to him, the meeting signifies the government’s commitment in stemming the devastating effects of the NCDs in the country.
He said that in the last couple of decades, deaths from NCDs, especially cardio-vascular diseases or CVDs (such as stroke and heart attack), cancers, diabetes, chronic respiratory disorders; and most recently mental health disorders, have increased at an alarming rate with devastating impact on the socio-economic development.
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), Mustapha said that NCDs kill 41 million people annually, which is equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
He said, “Each year, 15 million people die from NCDs between the ages of 30 and 69 years; over 85% of these premature deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) of which Nigeria is one.
“In Nigeria, the 2016 WHO record showed that NCDs account for about 29% of all deaths, of which cardio-vascular diseases lead with 11%. Furthermore, data from NCDC showed that a majority of the COVID-19 deaths were due to NCDs.
“The cumulative economic loss due to NCDs between 2011 and 2025 is estimated to be $7 trillion for LMICs.”
The SGF said that for these reasons, NCDs are now recognized as developmental calamity and the United Nations has listed them as areas of focus in the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said that specifically, SDG 3.4 requires the reduction by 1/3 the premature death from NCDs by 2030.
Mustapha, however, said that it is important to understand that the solution to this menace does not lie in the health sector alone, hence the WHO recommended Multi-Sectoral Action (MSA) as a key strategy to address the looming NCD epidemic.
“Consequently, a seven-year National Multisectoral Action Plan on the prevention and control of NCDs in Nigeria was developed by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) in collaboration with 12 other Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and content technical experts,” he said.
He said that the plan outlined a three-step multisectoral coordination mechanism including the set-up of the National NCDs Governing Council which is the highest and decision-making level of the coordination mechanism for the prevention and control of NCDs in Nigeria.