President Alvi emphasises balanced diet, exercises to combat NCDs

Says brain drain major issue of our country as valuable capital being transferred abroad in the form of doctors and other professionals

PESHAWAR    -   President Dr Arif Alvi has stated that to establish a healthy and balanced so­ciety, people should walk more, use stairs up to two or three floors instead of a lift, consume fresh veg­etables and fruits instead of a simple diet, and avoid the excessive use of salt and sugar in food to prevent Noncommunica­ble diseases (NCDs).

He was speaking as the chief guest at the closing session of the 3rd Inter­national Public Health Conference at Khy­ber Medical University (KMU) Peshawar, where Governor Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa Haji Ghulam Ali, Caretaker Chief Min­ister Azam Khan, Advisor on Health Prof Dr Abid Jamil, KMU Vice-Chan­cellor Prof Dr Zia ul Haq, medical experts and stu­dents were also present in large numbers on the occasion.

The president said that a balanced diet and mod­erate exercise can help to reduce the risk of NCDs and mortality ratios, but prevention is the only long-term solution to the growing number of dis­eases, particularly NCDs, in poor countries with low education ratios like Pakistan.

President Arif Alvi stat­ed that when developing health policies and strat­egies, particularly for NCDs, we must keep so­cial and societal needs, problems, and attitudes in mind. He stated that women play a funda­mental and critical role in raising children. Prop­er public health training can help to control the nation’s complex health problems to a large ex­tent. He stated that there is no shortage of policies; the real issue is their im­plementation.

According to Dr Arif Alvi, there are 9 million births in Pakistan each year, half of which are unintentional. Through proper planning, infor­mation, and provision of facilities, not only can the growing population be controlled, but it is also possible to solve the health problems of wom­en and children. He stat­ed that nature has bless­ed us as a nation with enormous abilities, but that due to a lack of prop­er utilisation of these re­sources and abilities, we have fallen behind our neighbouring countries in the race for develop­ment in every field of life.

Instead of focusing on social and public health issues, our political lead­ers are preoccupied with personal interests and political squabbles, which is of course a source of concern for all of us.

He stated that the Cov­id crisis’ success is a good model for us, as it result­ed in the least amount of human and econom­ic loss in Pakistan dur­ing this outbreak. This model can also be used to address NCDs. He stat­ed that 24% of our popu­lation suffers from men­tal diseases, and 60-80% of students are under mental stress. One of the major causes of mental stress, along with many other factors, is financial problems, which is a ma­jor challenge for all of us to deal with.

“We need 900,000 nurses now, while there are only 200,000 nurses in the country, it will take us 50 years to reach the target of 900,000. Simi­larly, only 1900 psychia­trists are available for the entire country’s 220 mil­lion population; we need to transition to an on­line health system while keeping modern needs and financial constraints in mind,” he added.

According to the pres­ident, brain drain is a major issue in Pakistan, with our valuable capital being transferred abroad in the form of doctors and other professionals. On the other hand, by ig­noring health principles, a large number of peo­ple suffer from obesity, diabetes, and heart and mental diseases.  Earlier, in his address to the conference, KMU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Zia ul Haq highlighted the university’s fifteen-year performance and present­ed the conference’s objec­tives and recommenda­tions, while Prof Dr Abdul Basit discussed the caus­es and prevention of dia­betes and Prof Dr Samin Siddiqi discussed the sit­uation and challenges of NCDs in Pakistan.

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