The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reiterated its commitment and support to the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), especially cancer in Nigeria. The WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, made the pledge at the 2021 Annual Interactional Public Health Conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 3rd Annual Conference was organised by the African Institute of Public Health Professionals (AIPHP) in collaboration with National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
Challenges, epidemiology, prevention and control of NCDs
Mulombo, who spoke on the theme titled, “Non-Communicable Disease in Africa: Challenges, epidemiology, prevention and control,” urged all hands on deck towards prevention and cancer control in Nigeria. According to him, WHO recommends a comprehensive approach to cancer control which spans prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care methods.
“Following the political declaration of the High-level meeting of the General Assembly in 2011, member states were tasked with the development of a multi sectoral action plan to tackle NCDs including cancers.
“These diseases share common risk factors which include tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and air pollution.
“We are also supporting the conduct of national NCDs survey to obtain recent NCDs risk factor and interventions at strengthening the Primary Healthcare system towards the diseases,” he said.
Prof. Olufemi Peters, the Vice Chancellor of NOUN, said the institution was committed to increasing access to quality education to Nigerians and to allow all categories of citizens to study with flexibility of Open Learning. The VC represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Prof. Uduma Orji, said the conference was a way of getting the academia to interface the health industry to find lasting solutions to health challenges.
“I implore all participants to this conference and indeed all members of AIPHP to take advantage of these opportunities to build network and working relationship to enhance public health impact in Africa.
“This conference is one way of getting the academia to interface, compare notes and forge a way forward in trying to provide lasting solutions to public health challenges bedeviling the African continent especially COVID 19 pandemic,” he said.
The Chairman Governing Council of AIAPH, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, said issue of health had to be looked into holistically, adding that anyone with NCD becomes vulnerable when attacked by disease like the COVID-19. He further added that Africa needs more public health professionals, research and development to help address health challenges in the continent. He also announced the implementation of series of capacity-building programmes on leadership and management for healthcare professionals across the continent.
This article was originally published by Vanguard News Nigeria on 21 September 2021.