By Hussein Jiva Asian Weekly
On October 8, the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya (NCDAK) organised the first gala dinner at a reputable hotel on the outskirts of Nairobi’s CBD, aimed at raising awareness and funds for the non-governmental organisation’s future activities. One of the Founding members of NCDAK as well as the National Chairperson of Diabetes Kenya, Dr Kirtida Acharya, said the alliance was birthed in line with the global UN declaration. And among the conditions that fall under this umbrella are diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
“It is a condition you get as a consequence of your life style. At the moment, NCD is getting more common, especially amongst young children, due to unhealthy lifestyles and diets as well as stress… Prevention is where our hope lies, not cure – cure is too expensive,” Dr Acharya said.
The funds raised would be distributed equally to all counties, in a bid to lay the foundations of various health-related projects. According to the Secretary of NCDAK, Dr Mary Amuyunzu-Nyamongo, available information often confuses the masses. “We hope that after such meets, we will put in place a good process of educating and not confusing people, through various channels.”
In Kenya, 1.6 million live with diabetes, while 40,000 cancer cases are reported annually – 25,000 of whom pass on.Speaking at the event was the Cabinet Secretary (CS) of the Ministry of Health, James Maaharia, who appreciated the efforts towards tackling NCDs. “Without passion and commitment, the kind of challenge we are faced with would be very hard to overcome.”
“The same passion to fight Ebola globally – which claimed about 10,000 lives – should be galvanised and directed towards NCDs,” said CS Macharia. “We need to encourage the private sector to come to the table as well. The cost for medication is very high. Thus, in tackling this, we require leadership and advocacy. This starts from the president alljthe way to members outside of the government system.”
As Kenya plays hosts to the 10th edition of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the CS assured the gathering that NCDs agenda would be table and given the prominence it deserved. Also speaking was the Director of Medicjal Services from the Ministry of Health, Dr Nicholas Muraguri, the Head of NCD Control Unit from the Ministry of Health, Dr Joesph Kibachio and advocates for cancer such as Katheke Mbithi and Emmanuel Jadudi.