Finland Ambassador, Hur Advocate Prevention against NCDs in Nigeria


Martins Ifijeh

The Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Pirjo Suomela-Chowdury, Nigeria’s Honourary Consul to Finland, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye and HUR, have called on Nigerians to give priority to lifestyles that prevent the development of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

They said apart from eating healthy meals, one of the surest ways of prevention of NCDs was regular exercise, as this not only reduces incidence of cardiovascular disease, but helps in fighting off obesity, diabetes, overweight, among others.

Speaking at the launch of HUR’s advanced exercise equipments during the Medic West Africa Exhibition in Lagos recently, the Finland Ambassador said several decades ago, her country was grappling with cases of NCDs, but made conscious efforts to invest in prevention, which has in no small measure impacted on the health of the people positively.

“One of the things we did on prevention is exercising. This has a positive impact on health, and we want Nigerians to also take exercising seriously,” she added.

While stating that her country will be 100 years old this year, she said in November, Finland’s Minister of Trade will be in Nigeria to discuss more on stronger business partnerships.
Akinroye, who aligned with the ambassador said Nigeria has a lot to learn from Finland, especially in tackling cardiovascular diseases and other forms of NCDs. “Today, the life expectancy rate in Finland is 70 years, while that of Nigeria is still within 50. That means they live 20 years ahead of us. And their secret is no other than prioritising prevention.

“In the early 20s, Finland had one of the highest cases of NCDs in the world. They did an experiment, and then went to the parliament to talk on why they were dying early. Policies were put in place and their citizens began to cut down on junk foods, salt intake, and they started exercising.”

He said Nigeria should face prevention at all stages of life, from childbirth up to old age.
The Area Manager Africa, HUR, Eve Autio, HUR has been providing high quality medical accredited exercise and rehabilitation equipments in five continents. “We want Nigerians to take advantage of this technology, as it will help both the middle aged and adults in wading off NCDs. We have been into this for over 30 years now,” she added.

Trade Commissioner, FinPro, Olu Raheem, said Nigeria’s healthcare system has the potential to grow faster than envisaged, but must invest in funding and technology.

He called for policies to make healthcare business more attractive for investors. “We hear a lot of discussions around this in the agricultural sector, but little is heard about the country’s health sector,” he added.