Lunga Memela (HST Communications Engagement Lead)
HST continues to promote health screening and healthy living across the communities in which it operates and beyond.
The time has come for all people, young and old, to really take a closer look at the lifestyle choices they make in view of alarming numbers of deaths worldwide resulting from preventable non-communicable diseases, commonly abbreviated as NCDs.
The South African Government describes an NCD as a medical condition or disease which, by definition, is non-infectious and cannot be passed from person to person. "NCDs may be chronic diseases of long duration and slow progression, or they may result in more rapid death such as a sudden stroke". They direct citizens to the World Health Organization (WHO) which raises awareness about four main types of NCDs:
We have all lost loved ones to such conditions; they affect us one way or another – we are living with them and know other people who do too. According to WHO, NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries, "where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths – 31.4 million – occur". WHO also warns that people of all age groups, regions and countries are affected by NCDs. "These conditions are often associated with older age groups, but evidence shows that more than 15 million of all deaths attributed to NCDs occur between the ages of 30 and 69 years. Of these "premature" deaths, 85% are estimated to occur in low- and middle-income countries. Children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors contributing to NCDs, whether from unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, exposure to tobacco smoke or the harmful use of alcohol."
This year's Global Week for Action on NCDs (5–11 September 2022) invites us all to pause and reflect on all that we can do to take better care of ourselves and our loved ones, and prevent the prevalence of NCDs. It is a lifestyle audit that, if attended to timeously through regular health screening, can only result in healthier, thriving communities. It is for these reasons that Health Systems Trust staffers take pride in supporting the Department of Health in its efforts towards offering integrated primary healthcare health services free-of-charge to all members of society – contributing towards the prevention of NCDs.
A call to action
The NCD Alliance is, through its INVEST TO PROTECT initiative, calling on civil society to get involved by focusing on solutions that are key to mobilising effective investments in health. They say: "Financing for NCDs has stagnated at a pitiful 1–2% of development assistance for health for two decades, causing many millions of deaths and pushing millions more into extreme poverty due to healthcare costs and disability. We need investment now to finally turn the tide on NCDs."
Watch the NCD Alliance video: Investing in NCDs is SMART! - Global Week for Action on NCDs '22.
HST and Department of Health mobile units set up to offer free health screening (integrated services), health education and promotion during a community outreach initiative held recently in Zululand.
HEALTH SYSTEMS TRUST - CONTACT DETAILS
1 Maryvale Road, Westville, Durban, 3630
+27(0)31 266 9090