Minister of Health and Population, Atupele Muluzi said his ministry was aware of the rise in non-communicable diseases in the country when he launched Non-communicable Diseases and Injuries (NCDI) and Poverty report in Lilongwe on Thursday.
“These diseases are not limited to the rich or poor people, they are affecting everyone. This report gives us evidence that there are high incidences of hypertension, diabetes and epilepsy,” said Muluzi at the launch.
“These diseases affect people’s life, not only in rural areas but also in the urban areas, therefore, they require interventions and support,”Muluzi said.
He further said there is greater need to finance NCDI and also make sure that medicine is available for free in the rural masses who cannot afford access to medication for these diseases such as hypertension.
“Government, through Ministry of Health, has put much intervention on non-communicable diseases that are increasingly affecting more Malawians each and every day.
“The Implementation of cost-effective interventions, that prioritize a focus on equity, will help expand access to prevention and treatment services in rural areas and impoverished populations in Malawi,” Muluzi said.
The minister said the report will help to broaden the definition of NCDIs and their risk factors in the country which will help the majority of Malawian population to be well covered.
Among other aspects, the NCDI report indicates that most Malawians perceive that non- communicable diseases only affect the rich, old and those in urban settings. However, currently, the burden has also affected the young population under the age of 40, even those in rural areas.
Deputy Director for non-communicable diseases and mental health clinical services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Jones Kaponda Masiye said the report also highlights the burden of the diseases, the current situation and how to intervene and advocate so that people can understand them.
“As a nation we have done well in the 1970 and 80’s on infectious diseases because that’s where the focus was but now if you look at the trend of non-communicablediseases things have changed which means now we have a lot of non-communicablediseases than the infectious.
“However all is not lost if we can act now we likely to reduce this burden so as a country lets work together for us to deal with non-communicablediseases,” Masiye said.
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