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Thousands of lives lost annually due to NCD – Minister

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Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) have been identified as the main cause of death in Sri Lanka and about 120,000 people die annually from Non-Communicable Diseases.

This was revealed at the National Council on Non-Communicable Diseases convened at the Health Ministry under the patronage of Health Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana on Tuesday (10).

Tobacco and alcohol consumption, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol have been identified as the main reasons for the increase of Non-Communicable Diseases.

The Minister emphasized that thousands of precious human lives lost annually due to Non-Communicable Diseases and road accidents, and to protect those precious human lives, he would not hesitate to take even unpopular decisions.

The National Council on Non-Communicable Diseases was established in 2017 and is Chaired by the Health Minister and adviced by the National Council on Non-Communicable Diseases.

Sri Lanka’s Revised National Policy and Strategic Framework for Prevention and Control of Chronic Non-communicable Diseases (2023-2033), National Multi-Sectoral Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (2023-2027) and Non-Communicable Disease Risks Factor Survey (STEPS) 2021 report was also launched at this occasion.

There was a discussion and review of the activities, proposals and ideas that have been done and are currently being done for the control of Non-Communicable Diseases.

The health experts pointed out that there is a certain increase in the consumption of sugar, salt and oily foods among the people of this country and there is a certain increase in Non-Communicable Diseases by eating such unhealthy foods. Paying special attention to it, the Minister advised the officials to inform the people about its adverse effects and to take steps to prepare some systematic programme to save the people from it.

To educate people about unhealthy practices such as adding salt when cooking rice, and to protect them from Non-Communicable Diseases such as tobacco and alcohol use, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, pre-screening for cancer, blood cholesterol level, blood sugar level. The Minister also instructed the officials to prepare special health education programmes in good coordination with all other media including social media to inform the people about the methods of treatment.

The Minister stressed the importance of implementing the concept of establishing Healthy Lifestyle Centres in the health system in a more formal manner and to protect the entire population of this country from Non-Communicable Diseases as well as the primary health service in a more formal manner to protect the people of this country from Non-Communicable Diseases. The Minister instructed the officials to update those programmes immediately.

The need for a collective effort in both health and non-health sectors to identify and prevent non-communicable diseases and to prevent them and short-term and long-term plans to control and prevent Non-Communicable Diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and mental illness etc. The Health Minister gave instructions to the officials to make the preparation and related reviews and inform them whenever possible.

The future measures to be taken to sell healthy food in school canteens as well as in other canteens were also discussed here and about directing schoolchildren to physical activities, for this the Education Ministry, the Sports Ministry and other contributing Ministries and institutions have worked together.

The risk of contracting Non-Communicable Diseases increases with the increase in the elderly population, globalization, free market economy, rapid urbanization, advanced transportation facilities, and the adoption of unhealthy lifestyles due to a wide range of criteria such as the migrant population have also strongly affected the Non-Communicable Disease situation.

Health Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala, Additional Secretary Dr. Sunil de Alwis, Deputy Director Generals Dr. Champika Wickramasinghe, Dr. Sudath Dharmaratne, Dr. Susie Perera, Dr. S. Sreedharan, Dr. Samindi Samarakoon, World Health Organisation Resident Representative in Sri Lanka Dr. Alaka Singh, representatives of medical colleges that contribute to the treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases, representatives of other Ministries working together with the Health Ministry to prevent Non-Communicable Diseases, representatives of non-governmental organisations, doctors and others participated.

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