According to the World Health Organization, nearly three-quarters of all noncommunicable disease (NCD) deaths worldwide take place in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). These 28 million deaths—from cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases—are related to poverty and lack of detection and treatment. In these countries, inadequate healthcare systems can lead to higher rates of premature deaths as well.

In Kenya and even Globally, the main risk factors for NCDs are tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and harmful use of alcohol due to effects of globalization on marketing and trade. Being diagnosed with an NCD often means years of poor health and disability, making NCDs a factor in 30.2 percent of all disability-adjusted life years in Kenya.

Keeping in mind that Tobacco and Alcohol are among the main risk factors for non-communicable diseases, it is imperative that users and non-users alike be sensitized on the deleterious health effects of indulging in drugs. There is a need for everyone to be equipped with drug refusal skills.

Drug Sensitization at Kenyatta University

Kenyatta University recently organized The Drug Free Youth Sensitization forum in an attempt to discourage drugs and substances abuse in the institution. I was invited to deliver a talk on the topic and underscore the impact of drugs and substances abuse in the society. Dominating my talk was drugs refusal skills. I also expounded on the inextricable connection between drugs and NCDs. Some of the drugs refusal skill I highlighted include:

  • Saying NO quickly with a firm and clear voice without hesitation.
  • Making direct eye contact to affirm your seriousness and finality.
  • Suggesting an alternative:
    • Something else to do.
    • Something else to eat or drink.
  • Asking the person to stop offering you a drink and to not do so again.
  • Changing the subject by talking about other meaningful and constructive subjects.

Being student audience, some of the effects of drugs I highlighted include:

  • False confidence
  • Health implications including NCDs
  • Distracted focus due to hallucination and other undesirable outcomes
  • Lost memory due to overindulgent in drug and substances

Published by Oduor Kevin

ODUOR KEVIN is a Public Health Specialist with considerable experience in the health care industry. He has worked in various organizations, leading projects and programs aimed at improving the health outcomes of people living with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and the general population. Oduor Kevin is currently the Chief Programs Officer at Stowelink Inc, a youth-led organization with a single most focus on addressing the burden of NCDs. Oduor’s experience in project management is attributed to his work at Population Services Kenya (PSK) where he served as a member of the National Coordinating Committee for Kitu Ni Kukachora project. Further, in 2019, Oduor Kevin was appointed as Kenyatta University Campus Director by Millenium Campus Network (MCN) to supervise and lead Millennium Fellows in their Social Impact projects. During this assignment, he successfully supervised the fellows and delivered them for graduation under the banner of Millennium Fellowship.

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