As an NCDs Advocate, I cannot hide my joy as I witness individuals and organization joining in the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases in Kenya. Chronic diseases (NCDs) have become a major public health concern owing to the increase hospital bed of occupancy and deaths attributable to these diseases. In Kenya, chronic diseases represent an increasingly significant burden of ill-health and death, accounting for more than 50% of the total hospital admission and over 55% of hospital deaths. An estimated 7% of Kenyans die from Cancer; and 37000 new cases are diagnosed every year; 22.26% of adults aged 18-69 years have a raised blood pressure or are currently on medication for raised blood pressure. This is according to the Kenya National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2015-2020.
Appalled by these shocking statistics, the National Council of Churches of Kenya has launched an ambitious programmed dubbed AFIA NJEMA PROGRAMME. The program intends to transform the NCDs prevention and control landscape in Kenya through multi-sector collaborations and partnerships. Further, the programme will be rolled out in a step-by-step, multi-layered approach to tackle the biggest problems to NCDs prevention and control which include but not limited to:
- Absence of critical players/actors, primarily church leaders, patients and survivors.
- Lack of accountability by duty bearers in ensuring that Kenyans live a healthy and productive life.
- A lack of sufficient monitoring and research framework on the evidence of the magnitude and distribution of NCDs in the country, among others.
- Limited awareness on NCDs and how to prevent them.
I am glad to have been part of the team that worked on the strategy document of this programme launched in an auspicious event graced by the CS for Health, Hon. Mutahi Kagwe. Being part and parcel of this programme, my only hope is that the programme will bring returns and positive impact. This will be a great step towards laying a groundwork for effective management of NCDs.