The Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) this last week, joined the international community to commemorate the Global Week for Action on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The week-long activities, which started from September 6 to September 12, 2021 in all the CBCHS facilities, featured health talks, free screening for diabetes, hypertension and obesity. This was spiced by physical exercises as well as other fun games involving persons living with disabilities.
NCDs account for over 71 per cent of annual deaths in the world and Cameroon records about 35 per cent of NCDs-related deaths every year. Hospital statistics reveal that most persons with NCDs show up for treatment when their conditions have already advanced, rendering treatment and control more difficult.
Experts hold that NCDs are not transmissible and often do not present symptoms. Symptoms often set in when other complications emerge. A common characteristic of these diseases is that they are long lasting and they often push patients to spending most of their income on hospital bills. Cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, breast, prostate, and cervical cancers, chronic respiratory diseases like emphysema, and mental health conditions like schizophrenia and diabetes are some of the common NCDs diagnosed in Cameroon.
According to Dr Epie Njume, the General Supervisor of the NCD Prevention and Control Programme at the CBC Health Services, age, gender, family history, and genetics are predispositions for the development of NCDs. However, these diseases are still preventable through lifestyles that include regular physical exercises, healthy eating habits. Doctors say the inclusion of more vegetables and fruits, and scaling down on the intake of starch, salt, fats, and oil could help prevent one from developing the diseases. They say excessive alcohol intake is a huge risk factor. Dr Njume called on the population to reduce the burden of NCDs by reducing their exposures to the risk factors. This, he reiterated, is possible.
For community solutions he recommended actions such as regular screening, group physical exercises. He also proposed a car free day for car owners, saying this will give them room to walk and stay active. “NCDs could affect everyone, whether rich or poor, young or old, educated or not,” he ended.
The event’s highlight in Bamenda featured a ‘goal ball match’ between persons with visual impairment. Team A, led by Clement Ndim Yuh, won Team B with a total score of 21 against 18 goals. Clement Ndim Yuh is a visually impaired student at the University of Bamenda and believes in community action to fight against NCDs.