of the hospital have decried that out of every sixty-four operations due to
non-communicable diseases held at the Edward Fancis Small Teaching Hospital per
month, four are amputated due to diabetic foot. Deputy chief medical director,
Charles Roberts, said the figure is even rising to an average of nine
operations each month.
As the Ecobank partners with Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital and the Ministry of Health to “take a step against non-communicable diseases,” the high morbidity rate of these non-communicable diseases took centre stage at discussions held at the hospital grounds over the weekend. The health officials view this rise with great concern, hence commended the bank for taking a stance against the diseases.
The hospital endures a high rate of referral from across the country, with a capacity of just 560 beds. Each year, some 190, 000 outpatients are registered at the EF Small Teaching Hospital; 14, 000 patients are admitted per year – 90 per cent of which are presented to the hospital with critical non-communicable diseases that arrive very late.
“Preventing NCDs is a difficult task to achieve. It will require concerted efforts from the society, not just the hospitals or government. Hence the Ecobank stance is well appreciated,” Dr. Charles Thomas Roberts said, noting that the D400, 000 cheque donated towards purchase of needed equipment will help boost hospital’s capacity to deliver services to the population.
NCDS comprises diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, hyper tensions, etc. collectively, they account for 15 million deaths each year, over 65 per cent of them in developing countries.
Good diets, healthy lifestyles, including physical exercises are some of the effective ways against these NCDs. The high intakes of salt, sugar, smoking and alcohol use are some of the primary causes of these diseases. Apparently, the consumption of these are very high in The Gambia, explained Dr. Momodou Gassama, director of Health Communications at WHO country office in Banjul.
Dr. Gassama said these NCDs are not just diseases of the hospitals but that of development as hospitals only see the critical cases whiles a lot of unreported cases exist in society.
For tobacco use, 50% of Gambian adults and young people between ages of 12 and 20 are engaged in smoking cigarettes and cesar.
Research also shows that 22% of the population is not physically active, when each should have at least 30 minutes of physical activity per week.
Blood sugar levels and blood pressure levels are also contributing greatly to NCDs.
Twelve percent of Gambian population is also engaged in alcohol consumption which is a major cause of depression.
When it comes to unhealthy diets, salt consumption should be at average of 5 grams per day. In the Gambia, average consumption is 9 grams per day.
Research also reveals that 9% of the population is obese, 2% of them attlee adolescents.
Hence NCDs represent a leading threat to health of the population, Minister of Health’s statement said.