Jan 2, 2014, 9:55 AM
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Sanna Dahaba, on Tuesday opened a three-day workshop on the review, finalization and validation of the National Integrated Policy and Action Plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in The Gambia, at the Baobab Hotel .
According to him, the document when completed will yield significant results in the operations and interventions for NCD prevention and control in The Gambia.
He noted that some decades ago, the main causes of morbidity and mortality in many countries in the world were communicable diseases, infections and poor nutrition.
He pointed out that an accelerated epidemiological transition led to a shift from infections to non communicable diseases, and a survey have shown that the NCD burden remains high and complications are on the increase.
He added that with adequate policies, strategies and action plans, if fully developed, funded and implemented, they will have a great potential in reducing the risk factors, and would improve good health and lower the negative economic outcomes associated with the burden of NCDs.
PS Dahaba said that the Health ministry is committed to the management and prevention of NCD and, as a result, the Ministry has established an NCD unit.
Speaking earlier, the WHO representative in The Gambia, Dr Thomas Sukwa, said the non communicable disease policy and strategy plan needs to fit into the overall National Health Policy 2011-2015 recently finalized by the ministry of Health.
Dr Sukwa said NCD complexities need a comprehensive health promotion approach that embraces actions directed at strengthening skills and capabilities of individuals to improve their health alongside actions directed towards changing social, environmental and economic conditions which have an impact on health.
He assured the Ministry of Health that WHO will continue to support The Gambia in strengthening the overall health system to better address the health needs of the Gambian people.
Dr Ismaila Thiam representative of the West African Health Organization at the meeting said advocacy is key for NDC prevention and control.
He said that most governments cannot give appropriate budgets to NCD, but with continuous advocacy the trend will change.
“NCDs are growing so there is a need for policies to be in place,” he added.