NCDs at epidemic proportions – DG Health



By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Director General Health Services Dr. Palitha Mahipala yesterday called on the public to help fight non communicable diseases (NCDs) which had reached epidemic proportions in the country.

Dr. Mahipala, who was addressing a meeting, in Colombo in connection with the ‘dissemination of findings of the Joint Mission of the United Nations Inter Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs in Sri Lanka (JMUNIATF-PCNCD SL)’ said that the issue should be tackled by one and all and that task should not be left entirely to the Health Ministry.

Dr Mahipala said in preventing and controlling the NCDs which were key causes of premature mortality levels ways and means had to be found to address the present disease burden. "We should also have a population wise approach to address the issue," he said.

A government directive that tea and sugar be served separately in restaurants and other such places would go a long way in tackling the high incidence of diabetes, Dr. Mahinpala said. But, the Health Ministry was yet to find out how far the directive was being implemented. Therefore, there was a need for the involvement of other concerned parties to make that scheme a success, he said.

WHO Representative in Sri Lanka, Dr Jacob Kumaresan said that the global burden of NCDs was 70 per cent. The NCD mortality age group was between of 30 and 70. Sri Lanka had made outstanding progress in controlling communicable diseases and totally eliminating vaccine preventable diseases. However, NCDs had become a leading cause of mortality, morbidity and disability in the country. They were also adversely impacting the health service resources, he said.

Documentation on the background information gathered by the JMUNIATF shows that last year 70 per cent of deaths in Sri Lanka had been due to NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. The probability of premature death from these four NCDs is 18 percent.


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