Uganda facing double burden of rising NCDs together with death toll due to communicable diseases: Way Forward

With the very much rising trends of non communicable diseases like cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory conditions and diabetes plus injuries, Uganda is in hot waters since this burden comes in when we still have the high burden of communicable diseases like malaria, HIV, typhoid, maternal and child illnesses, thus marking what we call 'double burden' or epidemiological transition. Researchers have revealed that the probability or chances of dying from one of the communicable diseases in Uganda is 27% for both male and female. This is bad news to a low developed country whose economy is low and its politics not streamlined......

According to many proven studies, the most common risk factors for developing one or more of the dangerous NCDs are excessive use of alcohol, tobacco smoking, hypertension, physical inactivity and obesity. In Uganda, the rate at which people are taking alcohol, smoking tobacco or even misusing salt is too much alarming. So many studies have ranked Uganda as the top consumer of Alcohol in Africa with Nigeria, making us come among the top five countries that consume too much alcohol in the whole world. The worst of it all is that more than 80% of Uganda alcohol is locally made with unclean and non proven materials and hard to regulate and control by the government. I hope you are all aware of the very many people we have ever lost to alcohol. Hundreds of diseases affecting people in Uganda are due to alcohol, these are liver cirrhosis, heart problems, mental illnesses and cancers plus diabetes. Then add violence of all types and poverty in our villages that ultimately affects our ability to access good health care.......
The prevalence of tobacco smoking among Ugandan adults and youth is also alarming. Studies and reports from Uganda tobacco indicate an average 25% prevalence in all age groups, with men coming on top. Researchers insist that neither HIV nor malaria deaths globally can surpass tobacco smoking related deaths. This is so alarming. a study that was done in Mulago about 10 years ago indicated that more than 75% of patients who had oral cancer had had smoking for 2-28 years. Smoking also greatly predisposes us to lung cancer, diabetes, kidney and mental disorders plus lowered immunity in HIV patients and TB.........
Data concerning other risk factors like physical inactivity, obesity and overweight is also not promising. Actually, about 27% of women in south western Uganda are reported to be obese and overweight and 23% in Kampala or central. Many institutions, government organisations and all work places in Uganda do not recognise the value of physical activities and have no clear policy or guidelines regarding exercises for their students or staff. All this puts us at the great risk of being killed by this rising tide of cancers and heart diseases.........
What is the way forward?
As usual, our government has a lot of things it has to do to rescue us from the invasion, but it all starts with us. The WHO and UN health councils have emphasized health education and creation of awareness, improved policy and implementation, tracking of NCD and documenting follow up as some of the remedies. This is because despite the harshness of these diseases when they prevail, most of them can be averted by simply regulating or working on our risk factors as explained above. For that reason, i am part of the project or the campaign to transform my world and protect my people, including myself by creating awareness through health education and all other health promotion programs......

In that aspect, i call upon every Ugandan to reduce on his salt intake, alcohol, tobacco smoking, dangerous sexual behaviors, do physical exercises and spread the news too. There is so much to share in terms of our nutrition and styles of living and we will keep sharing one at a time. Just keep health and call upon others to do the same. For more health tips and information, email me at the thecompletey@gmail.com or visit our blog, The Complete You Project.

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