Why Nigeria needs more researchers on non-communicable diseases
• Stakeholders advocate good workplace environment for employees
With non-communicable diseases among the top causes of deaths globally and Africa in particular, scientists have said Nigeria requires more people to research into these diseases, its causes, complications and cure to curb morbidity and mortality.
They stated this during the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) 2019 yearly Retreat held in Lagos, which had scientists and other medical practitioners converge to address issues in the health and workplace.
The Director General, NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako said scientists in the research institutes in the country have over the years focused on communicable diseases, which they are familiar with.
He said the world is shifting attention to non-communicable diseases, which are taking over infectious diseases in terms of causing morbidity and mortality among Africans.
He said: “There is need for the institute to develop research in the area of non-communicable diseases and that will include diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sickle cell anaemia and cancer which are the diseases ravaging our people and cause as much death as communicable diseases do.
“We need to expand into this area of research and therefore we need to recruit people who can operate that area of research.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof. Adetokunbo Fabanwo in his lecture titled: “Health and Workplace,” called for a healthy workplace for employees, as enunciated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He said the negative impact of overburdened workload on health is that it makes work environment not conducive, leads to stress, loss of job satisfaction, reduced productivity, absenteeism, and sometimes leads to the death of the employees.
“The emphasis now is to make our work environment as healthy, safe and conducive as possible because we spend one third of our lifetime working in our workplace. If we work eight hours in every 24 hours of each day, that means we spend one-third of our life in the office. So our office environment must really be conducive.”
On the health implication, Fabanwo said there is stress among workers, who develop depression, chronic illnesses, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
“We do not want all that, so it is better to have a good working environment, it is also good to have a screening mechanism of your workers. You must screen your workers regularly to ensure they are in good health. Those who are found to be sick are put under treatment and you don’t have cases of sudden and unexplained deaths among workers,” he said.
The Director General of NIMR on his part said, people should speak out whenever they have health issues rather than keep it within them and die eventually.
“People should not keep the ailment that they have to themselves. When employees have any health issues they should discuss with the medical professionals within the institute so that they can find solutions to treatment early. But when you keep it to yourself, you are providing the disease the opportunity to grow and if you continue to nurse it in your body that can lead to death,” he added.