In an effort to reduce the burden of cancers and other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the Ministry of Health and Wellness has developed a Multi-sectoral National NCDs Strategy (2018-2023) which will consolidate and focus country efforts in mitigating the burden of NCDs in Botswana.
This was revealed by the Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Alfred Madigele during the World Cancer Day commemoration in Mochudi village recently. Dr Madigele highlighted that the strategy will give equal opportunity to all players with more emphasis on building sustainable community response mechanism in fighting NCDs risk factors including cancer, adding that it will furthermore focus on our ability to restore quality life to those affected through provision of evidence based care.
The minister further stated that in 2014 his Ministry embarked on a nationwide survey to assess the burden of risk factors of NCDs in Botswana and the study revealed that about 31% of Batswana are overweight, 18% smoke, 20% do not engage in enough physical activity, while 26% drink alcohol. He noted that if nothing is done about these figures, we will continue to see an increase in the prevalence of NCDs and we will continue to loose precious lives prematurely.
“It is worth noting that cancer and other non-communicable diseases are the world’s biggest killers and are fuelled largely by factors which we can change namely; tobacco, alcohol use, lack of exercise and unhealthy diets. These are the things that we as individuals can change to show the commitments to change and the commitment to take responsibility of our health,” he said.
In addition, Dr Madigele reiterated that the government remains committed to fighting cancer and will continue to provide health promotion, disease prevention and treatment services for cancer and other NCDs to all citizens.
Meanwhile, the minister explained that this year’s commemoration theme Ï am and I will” challenges all citizens to reflect on their individual and collective efforts to reducing the burden of cancer in the country. “The truth is, cancer affects all of us in different ways. The theme ‘I Am and I Will’ is a call-to action urging for personal commitment and represents the power of what individual action taken now, can create a future free of cancer,” said Dr Madigele.
For her part, Princess Marina Hospital Oncologist Dr Bonolo Mhaladi called all members of the public to counter the risk factors of having any forms of cancer by; reducing alcohol consumption especially strong beverages and quitting smoking or having any contact with cigarette smoke, as this has been found to be among the strongest risk factor associated with having any form of cancer; as well as regular exercising.
The commemoration kick-started with a cycling event whose objectives were to promote healthy active lifestyles through sports, raise awareness about cancer as well as to raise funds buy bicycles for cancer survivors and stationary bicycle gyms to be used by the community.
Anti Tobacco Network (ATN)