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NCDs kill 60,000 Nigerians yearly but access to care, advocacy can reduce burden, say experts

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Despite efforts to reduce the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the ailments still remain major global health and development burden especially in low and middle-income countries such as Nigeria.

According to the President, NCD Alliance Nigeria, Dr. Sunny Kuku, NCDs account for about 60,000 mortalities in the country.

Speaking during a media briefing in Lagos to mark the 3rd Global Week for Action on NCDs, Kuku said that governments have overlooked the chronic diseases. He, however, noted that since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015, there has been more attention on NCDs. The expert said world leaders have committed to a one-third reduction in deaths between 30 and 70 years of age from four major NCDs, that is cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes.

Kuku highlighted that accessing treatment and care for NCDs is pushing patients and their families into financial difficulty and as a result, the international focus on Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The president added that Nigeria’s commitment to UHC has been symbolized by the passage of the National Health Act of 2014, which mandates the establishment of a Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to support the effective delivery of primary and secondary healthcare services through the provision of a Basic Minimum Package of Healthcare Services (BMPHS) and Emergency Medical Treatment (EMT) to all Nigerians.

The expert also urged the government to wave import excise duties on pharmaceutical products for the treatment and management of NCDs.

Also, as part of activities to mark the week, the NCD Alliance Nigeria boss said there would be high-level advocacy meeting for accountability on NCDs in Nigeria.

He continued:” The approved activities for Nigeria include, sensitisation and mobilisation of the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of State Primary Healthcare Development Agencies (SPHCDAs) and State Social Health Insurance Agencies (SSHIAs), sensitisation of the political heads of the SPHCDAs and SSHIAs as well as the Speakers and Chairmen, Committee on Health of the States House of Assembly among others.”

Similarly, Vice President-Scientific Affairs NCD Alliance, Nigeria, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye said that the trend of NCDs has gone up. He urged the government to recognise them as killer diseases and also encourage the local manufacturing companies and professionals.

Akinroye harped on the need to strengthen Primary Health Care across the country so that citizens can access care. “The group of people living with NCDs is on their own in this country, that is why NCD Alliance Nigeria is focusing to get them together and let their voices be heard. When they talk as a group the government would listen and recognise them,” he said.


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