Nigeria falling behind on global commitments to tackling premature deaths from chronic diseases, as a signatory to the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3.4), the Non- Communicable Disease Alliance (NCD Alliance) is calling on the government to prioritise more efforts in the medical interventions of the country in order to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The UN measure of progress towards the SDG target 3.4 is reducing by one-third the risk of death between 30 and 70 years of age from four major groups of NCDs (cancers, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes), termed NCD4.
Sonny Kuku, President, NCD Alliance said that based on recent (2010-2016) trends, the NCD Countdown 2030 despite plans and commitments ,unfortunately, more than half of the world’s countries are likely to miss the targets including Nigeria.
“NCDs account for 29 percent deaths in Nigeria, a population of 205,808,201 people and cause 70 percent of deaths globally,” he said at the flag off of the Third Global Week for Action on NCDs in the country,” he said.
However, in tracking progress on four major groups of NCDs deaths , the NCD Countdown 2030 report shows that worldwide, deaths from stroke, heart disease and stomach cancer are falling, although overall progress has slowed compared to the previous decade, according to WHO . Deaths from diabetes, lung cancer, colon cancer and liver cancer are stagnating or rising in many countries.
According to Kuku, Many of these NCDs are preventable and also carry heavy economic burden for countries, communities and families. Both the health and economic burdens of NCDs fall heaviest on low-and middle-income countries including Nigeria, making NCDs a major global health and developmental issue.
“However, NCDs have been overlooked by governments, but since 2015 when the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted, there has been more attention on NCDs. some of the actions taken to control NCDs include the inauguration of the First National Multi-Sectoral Action Plan for Prevention and Control of NCDs (2019-2025) and the publication of the Handbook on Civil Society Organisations in NCDs,” he said.
The president added that Nigeria’s commitment to Universal health Coverage (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.
Kuku also urged the government to wave import excise duties on pharmaceutical products for the treatment and management of NCDs noting that as part of activities to mark the week, there would be high level advocacy meeting for accountability on NCDs in Nigeria.
Similarly, Kingsley Akinroye, vice president-Scientific Affairs NCD Alliance, Nigeria, said that the trend of NCDs has gone up and most of COVID-19 pandemic casualties in Nigeria were people with heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, sickle cells, respiratory disease and even mental health.
“The government must be accountable to reduce non-communicable diseases-related deaths in Nigeria and there is need to strengthen the Primary Health Care across the country so that the citizens can access care,” he said.
To this end the NCD Alliance highlights the set of interventions needed to move Nigeria forward in reduce trends including quality primary care as a means to have equitable access to doctors’ surgeries and community-based clinics.
The group says more advocacies are need on effective cancer screening and treatment – to diagnose and treat cancers earlier, reducing long-term health impacts and premature deaths.
“Government should put more effort in monitoring tobacco and alcohol control and effective health system interventions, such as a ban on advertising, increasing taxes, plain packaging, and public smoking/drinking bans.
“Government should also encourage the local manufacturing companies; encourage the professionals to quality referral systems and consistent maintenance of people in care to help patients get the right treatment at the right time,” says the Alliance.
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