NCDs now need partnerships, faith-based community participations: Health experts

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The growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) now requires strong partnerships and more participation by faith-based communities, health stakeholders have said.

By Phyllis Mbanje

This was revealed during a discussion forum organised by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (Adra) Zimbabwe in partnership with the Health and Child Care ministry in Chitungwiza on Wednesday.

Running under the theme Holding Hands Against NCDs, the event drew various health stakeholders who all agreed that despite the burden of being a major health issue to contend with, not much “noise” was being made about it like other diseases such as HIV and Aids.

There are four main types of NCDs, namely cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and diabetes.

Conditions such as stroke, cancer, high blood pressure and mental health issues have become common and these are lifestyle diseases coming from behaviours such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and harmful use of alcohol.

Addressing the stakeholders, Peter Landless, who is the Adventist World Church Health Ministry director, said partnerships were very critical in tackling the issue and that the faith-based communities had a role to play.

“The Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) focuses on health and more particularly NCDs and so other faith-based communities can follow suit,” he said.

ADRA Zimbabwe country director Judith Musvosvi, also speaking at the event, however, said there was inadequate funding in this area and it was the greatest hindrance to programming.

Faith-based organisations were encouraged to mobilise people and help raise awareness around the subject through health promotions like the current health expo by SDA.

The health expo, which started on May 15 and will end on May 31, is offering free treatment for various ailments most of them NCDs.

So far, 27 500 people have been served at the Expo.

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