Tanzanias are likely to be easy prey to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as a result of unbalanced and insufficient diets, tobacco use, lack of exercises and unsafe sex.
Dr Lilian Mnabwiru from Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es salaam and also the Workplace Intervention Coordinator for Reproductive Cancer, said that major factors leading to the increase of non-communicable diseases and HIV-infections were largely related to lifestyle and therefore the best solution is through behavioral and social change.
In an interview, during a stakeholders’ workshop on health promotion and screening for chronic diseases organised by GIZ (Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit) through the Tanzania German Programme to Support Health (TGPSH) recently, Mnabwiru reported that, in the data collected between 2006 until 2009, cervical cancer cases were the most prominent accounting for 36 percent of all cases, prostate cancer about 12 percent and breast cancer for 8 percent, the grim numbers indicate a worsening threat associated with changing lifestyles and unhealthy diets.
“…public should develop healthy eating habits and take part in physical exercises…” advised the doctor. She also warned against effects of alcohol, cigarette, and unsafe sex and even stress.
Fidelis Owenya from health focus, a German Technical Cooperation initiative, explained that with support from GIZ, there are three interventions been undertaken currently, first at the individual level involving awareness creation, then risk assessment and screening and finally, counseling and promotion of healthy lifestyles.
They are working to create an environment conducive for healthy choices in the workplace and zero tolerance attitude towards discrimination of workers with HIV, disabilities and/or chronic diseases.
Policies have to be favorable and the initiative emphasis on promoting policies and developing guidelines that make the prevention of chronic disease and disability including HIV/Aids a workplace priority.
Explaining the impact of chronic diseases on the National Health Insurance Fund, Medical services Dr Clement Masanja from Muhimbili National Hospital said that more than half of the patients were ages 41 to 60 years the main work force and family providers.
Earlier in her opening speech, Senior Advisor Component Leader, sexual and reproductive health, rights and HIV/Aids from Tanzania German Programme to support Health, Dr. Regine Meyer said that during the pilot period, which involved President’s Office Public Service management, Ministry of Education and vocational training (MoEVT), Korogwe Town Council and Lindi Municipal council, a total of 1,676 public servants received information on chronic diseases and their risk factors and encouraged to adopt health lifestyles.
Non-communicable diseases are e on the increase and represent the world’s top killer the statistics were availed by the first World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Status Report on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) launched in May of this year.
In the same report, 2008 saw 36.1 million people die from heart disease, strokes, chronic lung diseases, cancers and diabetes and up to 80% of these occurred in developing nations.