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Group seeks integration of lifestyle medicine in COVID-19, obesity management 

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze and Matthew Ogune , Abuja
05 December 2021   |   2:56 am
The Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONg) has stressed the need to integrate lifestyle medicine in the management of COVID-19 pandemic and obesity in the country.

USAID Commits $72million To End Pandemic

The Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONg) has stressed the need to integrate lifestyle medicine in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and obesity in the country. 

President, SOLONg and Founder of the first Lifestyle Medicine Centre in Africa, Ifeoma Monye, who stated this during a virtual event heralding the conference of the organisation disclosed that the new branch of medicine adopts fact-based behavioral changes to prevent, treat, manage and reverse chronic diseases related to lifestyle choices.

Stating the sub-theme for the conference to be mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic with lifestyle medicine solutions, she noted that LifeStyle Medicine is a new branch of medicine and that countries across the world are embracing it. 

According to her, healthcare approaches must now be applied with specific considerations, taking note that unhealthy lifestyle choices would ultimately impact sustainable living negatively.

She said: “The new medical approach advocates for therapeutic approaches to sustainable living built on the pillars of proper nutrition, effective stress management, sleep, avoidance of harmful substances, consistent physical activity, and social connectedness.” 

Monye noted that LifeStyle Medicine will help individuals, families, and communities adopt healthy lifestyle choices, such as whole food plant-based nutrition, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, thriving social connections, and stress management in the country. 

She also said: “One of the things so important to mention is the training of health care professionals. SOLONg has trained medical personnel from South Africa, Egypt and Rwanda. We have not only impacted Nigeria but Africa as a whole.

“We need to pay serious attention to lifestyle medicine, as it has the potential to boost the immune system against severe effects of diseases.

SOLONg headman added that lifestyle cannot take the place of the COVID-19 vaccine, but can help keep people in better shape to knock off infections.

The group’s Vice President, Dr. Charles Cudjoe, said that the conference would give out the quality concept as regards to lifestyle medicine.

The Dietician of the association, Mrs. Chioma Mniriukwu, stressed that healthcare is no longer about diet, but sleep, exercise and eating healthy plant based foods, adding that theme for this year’s conference is “Addressing the Double Burden of Diseases in Africa: The Challenges and the Lifestyle Medicine Solutions.”

Meanwhile the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said it has supported the country with $73million for COVID-19 response.

USAID HIV Care and treatment manager, Dr. Isa Iyortim disclosed this in Abuja during the Maintaining Epidemic Control (EPIC) meeting for the end of project dissemination and National Dialogue, organised by the FHI360.

Noting that Nigeria is one of the countries that has put in place the most effective response facilities to fight COVID-19 in Africa, Iyortim said there is need for continuous collaboration, assuring the country that the USAID will continue to support it when and where necessary.

His words: “In conjunction with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other stakeholders we have supported the country with $73 million for COVID response. USAID supported the country with 300 bed together with their consumables and these were distributed in the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the isolation centres that were identify by the Federal Ministry of Health. We also supported the country with the training of 1,250 health workers. As this project comes to a close, we must ensure we keep the collaboration and we will continue to support where necessary.”

The Director, Health Trauma/Emergency and Disaster Response in the Federal Ministry of Health, Prof. Sydney Ibeanusi, who represented the Director, Hospital Services, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, said all donations especially the ventilators were distributed in areas of need.

He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is going down. There is need for collaboration on capacity building and continuous support.”

The representative of the FHI360 acting Director, Dr. Hadiza Khamoufu, said even though COVID-19 is coming to end they still need to collaborate.

According to Ngozi Ezema, who represented the FHI360, “This is our country and we need to garner support and collaborate for effective response. “