Non communicable diseases on the rise – Health Minister

Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva pledged as the Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Health Assembly, to persuade all member countries to make the prevention of diabetes a top priority. Developing countries like Sri Lanka were faced with a very high incidence of non communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and malignancies.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of The World Diabetes Summit for South East Asia Region, in India on Friday (28) he said the increasing incidence of NCDs, particularly in developing countries, would account for two thirds of all deaths globally in the next 25 years.

It was more alarming to note that NCDs were now becoming common among the poor, the Minister said.

The summit concluded yesterday (30).

The Healthcare and Nutrition Minister said that Sri Lanka had formulated a National Policy for NCDs. Though Sri Lanka had very impressive health indicators, it was also one of the countries in the world with a high incidence of diabetes, currently estimated at seven to eight percent. He warned that according to the available evidence there could be a further upward trend in the prevalence of diabetes in Sri Lanka. "Rapid urbanization, dietary changes and decreasing levels of physical activity are considered to be some underlying causes for this," De Silva said.

A significant proportion of population with diabetes remained undiagnosed. The Health Ministry had introduced different strategies such as creating awareness and diabetes screening at grassroots level coupled with provision of care and services to battle the disease, he said.

The country had develop a public and private sector partnership and with the financial assistance given by the private sector including multinational companies, diabetic clinics at major hospitals in some of the Provinces including the North and the East had been also opened.

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