In a bid to sensitize the masses about non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the East African Development Bank (EADB) has passed out the first medical practitioners in its first cancer management fellowship in Uganda.
EADB started a medical training programme aimed at sensitizing the communities of four East African states; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda where it operates. The target is to train 600 medical practitioners in four of these East African countries under a period of four years.
Fifteen medical practitioners have been passed out in Uganda at Nsambya Hospital. These completed a training in various fields of non-communicable diseases. The doctors were trained in the fields of; headaches, brain tumors, movement disorders, nerve and muscle diseases, brain infections, Epilepsy, Strokes, Spinal cord pathology and Dementia.
Non Communicable Diseases, also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors are an emerging problem in East Africa. In Uganda, it is reported that cancer kills almost 21,000 people every year.
The fellowship focuses on early detection, research and treatment of cancer and neurological disorders especially in communities and areas where access to qualified professionals remains a challenge.
Two East African countries have now been able to conclude the train. These include Kenya and Uganda. The training is done for a week at a selected hospital.
Speaking during the passing out of the fresh graduates, Ms. Vivienne Yeda, the Director General of EADB said; “We are undertaking this training so that we can improve our chances in the fight against Non Communicable Diseases in our communities. In partnership with the British Council and the Royal College of Physicians, the East African Development Bank will be training 600 doctors across four East African countries. We are joyed to pass out our first set of graduates in Uganda. We hope they can go and help their communities to combat cancer.”
These diseases are driven by forces that include ageing, rapid unplanned urbanization, and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles. For example, globalization of unhealthy lifestyles like unhealthy diets may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids, and obesity. These are called ‘intermediate risk factors’ which can lead to cardiovascular disease, a NCD.
All age groups and regions are affected by NCDs. Very often, these illnesses are associated with older age groups, but evidence shows that 16 million of all deaths attributed to NCDs occur before the age of 70. Of these ‘premature’ deaths, 82% occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
Children, adults and the elderly alike are all vulnerable to the risk factors that contribute to Non-communicable diseases, whether from unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, exposure to tobacco smoke or the effects of the harmful use of alcohol.