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Mak Needs UGX6bn Annually for Research on NCDs

Guest of Honour & Minister of Health-Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng (C), flanked by Chancellor-Prof. Ezra Suruma (4th R), Chairperson Council-Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem (4th L), Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd L), Chairperson BoT, SAIU-H.E. King Caesar Augustus Mulenga (3rd R), Principal CHS-Dr. Charles Ibingira (2nd R), Book Author-Mr. Nelson Twinamasiko with other officials and delegates at the First International NCD Symposium official opening, 12th February 2018, Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala.

The College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University is in need of UGX6bn annually to facilitate research on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The research is intended to provide evidence for prevention, early screening, treatment and health education interventions to address the NCD epidemic.

NCDs are the leading cause of the deaths worldwide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that by 2025, NCDs will account for 80% of the global burden of diseases causing 8 out 10 deaths in developing countries.

Dr. Ruth Aceng (R) with Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L) and Mr. Nelson Twinamasiko and his parents shortly after the launch of the latter's book "Ugandan Cancer Patient-Not a Fairy Tale" at the symposium

"Extensive research will help us understand what we are dealing with and will be the basis for effective strategy on stopping this epidemic of NCDs," the Principal CHS, Dr.  Charles Ibingira said  during the 1st International NCD Symposium. The conference under the theme ‘Building Momentum to Address the Growing Epidemic of NCDs in Africa' is being held from 12th to 15th February 2018. Sub-themes of the conference include; Cardiovascular Disease, Renal Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Cancer, Chronic Respiratory Diseases, Mental Health, Trauma and its Complications, Implementation Research in NCDs and Health Systems and Policies on NCDs.

Last year a research fund was launched and so far UGX652million has been raised. Ibingira said "The investment in research on NCDs will in the end bear fruit not only in lowering mortality rates in the country, but also to boost local drug industry through drug development using local herbs that have been tested and proved to be effective in the treatment of NCDs."

King Augustus Mulenga the Chairman, Board of Trustees, St Augustine International University said that his university will contribute sh100m towards the research fund.

Prof. Khama Odera Rogo, Head of World Bank Group’s Health in Africa Initiative delivers his keynote address on "The growing epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa"

In 2014 the Ministry of Health carried out the National NCD risk factor survey and found out that  1 in 4 adults had high blood pressure, 1.4% had diabetes, 14.5% were overweight, 4.6% obese, 12% people were using tobacco and 28.5% were taking alcohol. The survey also revealed that about 76.1% of people with high blood pressure were not aware of their condition, or taking any form of medication.

Dr. Ibingira appealed to Government to pass a law to ensure that every school has a playground and that sports should be mandatory to promote physical fitness for learners and staff. "Most schools nowadays have relegated co-curricular activities and focus on teaching for purposes of passing exams," he noted.

The Department of Perfomring Arts and Film (PAF), Makerere University entertained guests at the Symposium's opening ceremony

The Minister of Health Dr Ruth Aceng said NCDs said government has decentralised NCDs to health centre III level so that Ugandans can easily access treatment. She added that at the moment health personnel are undergoing refresher training course in diagnosis and management of NCDs. In Uganda, NCDs including injuries account for 40 % of all deaths annually.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe commended CHS for establishing a research fund and appealed to Government and development partners to contribute towards this fund.

Photography by Landmark Media Consultancy

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