‘NCDs causing alarming number of deaths in country’

Peshawar     -    Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for 55.3% of all deaths in Pakistan each year, said former federal health minister Dr Zafar Mirza, while speaking at the Khyber Medical University (KMU) Institute of Public Health & Social Sciences’ third international Public Health Conference.

NCDs’ metabolic/physiological risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, high blood glucose, and high lipids, as well as behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity, and alcohol abuse.

He defined Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as ensuring that all people and communities have access to the preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative health services they require, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the user does not face financial hardship.

He stated that the types of services are preventive, promotional, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative, and that the delivery platforms are community and primary health centres (PHC), but that 70% of essential health services can be delivered at the PHC level. He added that the National NCDs & Mental Health Framework 2021 - 2030 aimed to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one-third by 2030 through prevention and treatment, as well as promote mental health and well-being.

Prof Dr Zia-ul-Haq, the vice-chancellor of KMU, stated at the conference that Pakistan is facing a double burden of communicable diseases and NCDs. The adoption of a sedentary lifestyle and dietary changes has increased NCDs in Pakistan. He went on to say that NCDs, which include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and mental disorders, have surpassed injuries as the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Pakistan

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