Malawi commemorates Global Week on NCDs

Malawi on Friday joined the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s Global Week on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) with a call from the civil society organisations (CSOs) to ensure that public health facilities have adequate drugs for treating chronic NCDs.

A coalition of CSOs under the banner of NCD Alliance led the commemoration at Nsaru Health Centre in the outskirts of Lilongwe City where they held an engagement meeting with community leaders, youth leaders and community based organizations.

Mwakasungula–NCD drugs are very expensive for patients to buy themselves

Global Week on NCDs is a campaign that draws on energy, inspiration, determination, optimism, and outrage to focus efforts on ensuring NCD prevention and control get the attention and action they deserve from governments.

NCD Alliance vice chairperson Maud Mwakasungula said the coalition is engaging the government through the Ministry of Health in an effort to ensure that the country’s hospitals are fully equipped with enough medicines for treating chronic NCDs in line with Sustainable Development Goals on access to proper health services.

Mwakasungula, who is also the executive director for Women Coalition against Cancer (WOCACA), said they noted that most Malawians have little knowledge on NCDs; hence, they want to enhance awareness on how people can prevent these curable diseases.

“It is true that some drugs are very expensive depending on what type of NCD one is going through. For those that are expensive, we are working with stakeholders, especially the government, to see to it that they provide medications so that people do not have to use so much of their money,” said Mwakasungula.

She said the network is working with people living with chronic NCDs such as sugar, diabetes, respiratory failure amongst others, who have been tasked with an ambassadorial role in the fight against chronic diseases.

Senior nursing officer at Kabundula Community Health Centre, Matron Mwase, appealed to Malawians to adopt the culture of regular hospital checkups for early diagnosis of illnesses.

“I just want to encourage people to come to the hospital quickly when they have signs and symptoms of any illnesses because this helps us to easily identify and treat the illnesses,” said Mwase.

He also appealed to the citizenry to desist from consulting traditional healers and believing in myths over chronic diseases.

In his remarks, Senior Group Village Head Gwirize pledged chiefs’ support to the fight against NCDs by disseminating correction information on these curable diseases.

A recent study on the economic burden imposed by chronic NCDs showed that a total of 475 out of 5, 643 individuals interviewed during the period were reportedly suffering from these diseases.

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