The Ministry of Health and Sanitation in collaboration with the World Health Organization on Monday 5th July, 2010 jointly launched the ĎStep Surveyí report on the Prevalence of the common risk factors of Non- Communicable Diseases in Sierra Leone.
The auspicious ceremony which took place at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown attracted many stakeholders, including cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, representatives from both local and international Non-Governmental Organisations.
Speaking at the ceremony the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Hon. Mohamed D. Koroma said the effect of non-communicable diseases (NCDS) was a major challenge to the health of Sierra Leoneans. He informed that his Ministry was able to conduct survey with the NCDS risk factors in order to come up with policies and strategies for the prevention, control and surveillance of these conditions. He assured that his Ministry and government would use the survey reports to build sustainable surveillance system as well as improve national capacity and provide the necessary information for the prevention of NCDs, its control and planning health services against it at all levels. "This approach will lead to better integration of NCD programmes or interventions into Primary Health care."
WHO representatives Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu said NCDs such as hypertension, diabetes, mellitus, cardiovascular diseases (CVDS) and Cancer are on the increase worldwide, especially in developing countries. He informed that to control the epidemic, the Global Strategy for prevention and control of NCDs was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2000. He disclosed that NCDs are strongly associated with lifestyle risks many of which can be avoided by adopting policies that discourage practicing these risks and promoting a healthy life through healthy eating and physical activities.
He however stated that it is very difficult for some counties to adopt the policies due to insufficient and developed surveillance systems. "WHO has developed standardized methods of collecting, analyzing and disseminating data in WHO members countries known as STEPS wise Approach to NCD surveillance," he informed, adding that WHO Regional Office for Africa has been working with countries to straighten regional capacity for conducting epidemiological surveillance of NCDs.
The principal Investigator of the scholarly survey, Dr. Mohamed Samai told the audience that the survey was conducted on the prevalence of the common risk factors of NCDs in Sierra Leone. According to him respondents aged from 25 to 64 were targeted in sections of all chiefdoms in the country and that it was very comprehensive and detailed as they were able to come up with a satisfying result.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.