The 68th session of the WHO\AFRO meeting takes off in Dakar, Senegal with a call on all Member states to prioritize Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which are silently killing Africans from all walks of life, yet are entirely preventable.
This call was made by the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Rebecca Moeti, who lamented that African Region has the highest level of hypertension in the world with about 30% of adults suffering from the disease. Similarly, growing trend of adult onset of Diabetes and obesity reaching epidemic proportions among women in Sub-Saharan Africa, and about 150, 00 deaths from tobacco related diseases have been recorded.
Dr. Moeti therefore urged Member States to intensify pursuit of some proven public health policies and strategies to address the NCDs such as ‘increased taxation banning advertising, having mandatory health warnings for tobacco co products and alcohol, and most importantly engaging other sectors such as Trade that play such important role in this work’
Reacting to the call by WHO Regional Director for Africa, Nigerian Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Nigeria is committed to tackling these group of diseases by implementing appropriate and effective policies and strategies. A lot he added has been achieved in restricting illicit tobacco trade and enforcing anti-tobacco legislations. He assured that with the implementation of the Step Survey, we would be able to accurately determine the burden of NCD in Nigeria. Nigeria, he added is currently discussing with WHO on the conduct of a pilot project to treat all hypertensives in Ogun and Yobe States. President’s support to the health sector is unprecedented and would ensure the attainment of Universal Health Coverage he concluded.
Speaking earlier, the Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, advocated for unity among all the actors, from across governments and across UN family, with a call for all to leverage on their collective strength.
The 5-day meeting has in attendance, Health Ministers from African Countries, as well as participants from Academia, Donor Agencies and the UN Family.