The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Madam Miatta Kargbo over the weekend launched the National Non-Communicable Disease and Strategic Plan at the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building in Freetown.
In her statement, Minister Kargbo said the government was mindful of the consequences facing development and prosperity, particular with regards the health of citizens. She acknowledged that diseases such as Cancer, Cardiovascular diseases, Diabetes, Chronic Respiratory and Mental Disorders are on the increase in Sierra Leone but assured that there is a policy that has identified areas of government’s intervention to tackle this ugly development.
She said the policy also outlined and identified the roles and responsibilities of government through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, World Health Organization and other health partners in its implementation.
The minister revealed further that non-communicable diseases now account for a greater percentage of premature deaths and poverty in the country and that it deserves a concerted and coordinated public policy response to address it.
According to the minister, in a national survey conducted in May 2009 by her ministry in collaboration with the World Health Organization, on the ‘Common Risk Factors of Non-Communicable Diseases in Sierra Leone’s Adult Population’, it was discovered that 9 in every 10 adults consume less than 5% of fruits and vegetables daily.
Also, the minister went on, the reports further proved that 9 in every 10 adults are not engaging themselves in any form of physical exercises, whilst 4 in every 10 adults have high blood pressure and 3 in every 10 adults smoke tobacco and consumes alcohol.
Minister Kargbo assured Sierra Leoneans and other development partners that her ministry will soon place a ban on the advertisement of unhealthy food stuffs including tobacco and alcohol over national radio and television channels.
She said her ministry was also contemplating on making an acute increase in taxation on the importation of tobacco products and alcohol, with the adaptation of policies that will ban public smoking.
Country Representative of WHO Dr. Pamela Michula thanked the Government of Sierra Leone for its commitment towards the course, whilst also pledging WHO’s support to the people and Government of Sierra Leone.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.