The Nigerian Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Alliance has vowed to reduce deaths associated with diabetes, heart and lung diseases, as well as cancer, being the four major terminal ailments in the category of NCDs by 25 per cent come year 2025.
The President of the alliance, Olorogun Sunny Folorunsho Kuku, made the pledge during its inaugural meeting in Lagos, where he noted that the association, which first came to being in 2011 as a loose one, was being re-inaugurated as a more organised body to tackle the challenges ahead.
His words: “The Nigerian NCD Alliance actually came into being in 2010-2011. And at that time, it was driven by the fact that the United Nations was going to have a high-level meeting on NCDs which was unusual. In fact, there was only one situation in which the UN attracts a high-level meeting on a particular disease. So, it just showed the importance of that disease and wellness to the world. At that time, NCD alliances around the world had made case for cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”
While disclosing that the country needs 84 cancer machines to tackle the scourge, he, however, regretted that it was only one machine that exists in the country and was domiciled in a private hospital in Lagos.
Kuku noted that 80 per cent of the deaths globally were from developing nations, hence the resolve of his association to reduce the fatalities significantly by that timeline.
He added: “The rapid spread ofNCDs in Nigeria represents a major public health crisis affecting all income and age groups. It threatens the health, wellbeing and prosperity of the people while at the same time deepening social and health inequality.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2012 report, the number of deaths worldwide due to NCDs was 38 million, accounting for 68 per cent of total deaths.
“This figure is projected to rise to 52 million by 2030. Eighty per cent of these NCD deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, including Nigeria. Four major NCDs namely cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are responsible for 82 per cent of NCD deaths.”
A Cancer Specialist and Professor of Clinical and Oncology, Professor Abayomi Durosimi decried the high rate of cancer in the country, adding that the ignorance about the disease and how to tackle it was more worrisome.
“As an expert in cancer and other non-communicable diseases, I think this forum is a major step forward for medical care generally in the country. NCD is the major problem in our health sector which has killed many people in Nigeria,” Durosimi said.