Public must join fight against lifestyle diseases

In Summary
  • The good thing is that most of these diseases, which include cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle.
  • While the government is continuously investing in detection, screening and treatment, the public has to equally play their part in the battle against NCDs.
Image: BBC

Non-communicable diseases are the main killers in Kenya, accounting for 55 per cent of hospital deaths, according to the Health ministry.

For a developing country that is struggling to provide universal healthcare for its citizens, the figure is high and all should be done to contain this.

Even more concerning, according to the World Health Organisation, is that NCDs previously associated with the elderly are becoming common among younger populations in Africa (see page 8).

The good thing is that most of these diseases, which include cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle.

Smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, poor dietary habits and lack of exercise have directly been linked to some of the diseases.

While enjoying some of these excesses is a personal decision, it is encouraging that the government has tried to make them not easily available through legislation and taxation.

The ban on the advertising of alcohol and cigarettes and the high tax on the products have to some extent helped to act as a deterrent to their abuse. 

WHO has taken note of this and is commending Kenya for increasing taxes on nicotine, cigarettes and beer in its recent budget as a preventive measure.

While the government is continuously investing in detection, screening and treatment, the public has to equally play their part in the battle against NCDs.

Prevention, as they always say, is better than cure. 

Quote of the Day: “Collective will supplants individual whim.”

Samuel P Huntington

The American political scientist (The Clash of Civilizations) and presidential adviser was born on April 18, 1927

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