The meeting provided participants an opportunity to collectively agree on strategies and targets to be reached in South Africa to improve the situation regarding non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The Gauteng Department of Health and Social Development hosted a high-level summit on NCDs aimed at developing a position paper detailing a NCD agenda for the Province.
This report provides information required by countries – including South Africa – to assess their situation in face of the growing threat posed by non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The UN general assembly summit in September helped focus the world on the threat posed to economic development by four conditions – cancer, heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease. This is surprisingly true even in a middle income country like South Africa (SA). The economic impact of chronic conditions on the workforce and their productivity, and the cost to the health system is already enormous and without serious attention is set to balloon. The advent of significant resources to address this burgeoning epidemic seems unlikely. In an era when donor funding is shrinking, the envelope for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) could even decline as the SA government assumes greater fiscal responsibility for HIV/TB. This article discusses the burden of disease and disability in SA, the risk factors for NCDs in the country, possible interventions and the affordability.
The NCD Alliance seems to offer a conflicted strategy. On the one hand, a vertical and disease-oriented approach is recommended. On the other hand, it calls for strengthening (primary) health systems.
In April 2011, new regulations for the registration of cancers were promulgated. These regulations make it compulsory for every health care worker who has diagnosed a new case of cancer to notify the case on the prescribed form. The regulations make provision for the establishment of a population-based cancer registry. This articles discusses the role of the National Cancer Registry, Health Care Workers and Public Health Practitioners in the registration of cancer cases and the subsequent management and analysis of the data.
Tobacco use has been identified as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the world, giving rise to an estimated 5 million deaths per year. By the year 2020, this is expected to nearly double with 70% of the deaths occurring in the developing countries. To prevent the projected number of deaths, many attempts are being made to curb the current smoking patterns. In South Africa, the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act of 1999 was formulated and has resulted in the decreasing prevalence of smoking. This paper discusses approaches to smoking cessation and proposes a context for action by all health care professionals. We suggest changing the social acceptability of smoking, strengthening community participation, integrating tobacco cessation with other healthcare services and specifying the role of healthcare professionals to increase tobacco use cessation.
To achieve the promise of the UN HLM on NCD several questions must be addressed. The report presents the realities of the situation by answering four questions.
In light of the growing global emphasis on management of the rising burden of non-communicable diseases, including asthma, public health professionals in South Africa should undertake action.
Reducing tobacco use should be the top priority trying to tackle the enormous and growing death toll from non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
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