Experts Advocate New Government Policy for Non-Communicable Diseases


– As Norvatis holds 5th International Cardiovascular Summit in Lagos

Leading experts in cardiovascular disease management have advocated for a change in government policy towards non-communicable diseases (NCDS) especially the cardio metabolic disorders.

The experts’ position was contained in a communique issued at the end of the 5th Norvatis International Cardiovascular Summit, held recently at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, and graced by distinguished experts in cardiovascular disease.

According to the summit’s communique, signed by the chairman of the summit, Emeritus Professor, Ayodele Olajide Falase, there is also a need for increased investment in the health sector which can be achieved through increased budgetary allocation and the establishment of levy/tax on sugar-containing products and beverages, which can in turn be ploughed back into the health system for prevention and control of NCDS.

The summit also urged all stakeholders in the sector to come together to actualise the full implementation of the National Health Act, noting that this would help in tackling the burden of cardiovascular diseases.

The summit’s communique equally called for the coordination of the involvement of professional groups like the Nigerian Cardiac Society (NCS), Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria (EMSON), Nigerian Society of Nephrology (NSN) and other groups towards advocating for NCDS.

Emeritus Professor Ayodele Olajide Falase, chairman, 5th Norvatis Cardiovascular Summit (middle) flanked by other distinguished experts after the summit, held at Sheration Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, recently.

The summit also urge for a National Diabetes/NCDS survey to generate baseline data for planning and implementation of progammes while       also working towards increasing access to care, drugs and consumables for NCDS

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Other recommendations of the summit are the need to develop and disseminate clinical practice guidelines for all NCDS; have collaborative efforts in advocating for prevention strategies for NCDS; ensure capacity building in order to improve the care and support for people living with NCDS; engage key health decision makers; and reach out to advocacy partners in the health sector and donor agencies.

According to the communique, the key takeaways from scientific plenaries on neurology are that stroke still remains the commonest cause of death in neurologic patients in Nigeria; that awareness is still very poor; that there is a strong need for advocacy for stroke units in hospitals and; that emergency response should apply caution in lowering the blood pressure early in management with careful assessment.

Other takeaways are that all patients admitted to hospital with suspected acute stroke should have non-contrast CT brain imaging on arrival to hospital within 20 minutes; ischemic strokes can be improved upon with the use of tissue plasminogen activator for conservative management; and that challenges in stroke management in Nigeria include delayed average presentation time for CT imaging following stroke onset.

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The takeaways from the scientific plenaries on hypertension, according to the communique, are that elevated systolic blood pressure is the leading preventable cause of premature deaths globally with over 200 million daily adjusted life years; and that the definition of hypertension is beyond Systolic BP/Diastolic BP values, as it should be defined in terms of blood pressure levels.

Other takeaways are: advocacy for wider use of out-of-office measurement with blood pressure monitoring as an option to confirm diagnosis, detect white-coat and masked hypertension as well as monitor control while screening programmes should be done every five years in subjects with optimal blood pressure, every three years in subject with normal BP and annually in those with high blood pressure.

The last takeaway from the scientific plenary for hypertension, according to the communique, is that strategies aimed at blood pressure control should be both physician-oriented and patient-oriented.

Some of the takeaways from the scientific plenary on heart failure are: There are at least 37 million people with heart failure worldwide, with over a million new case every year; one in five adults over 40 years will have heart failure in their lifetime; and that Heart Failure Networks should involve a multi-disciplinary team approach by all stakeholders to which the patient is most central and most important.

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The takeaways from the plenary session on diabetes at the conference, according to the communique are: diabetes mellitus is the fastest growing epidemic in the world as 630 million people are presently suffering from it; that if people living with diabetes with diabetes mellitus were asked to live together in a place, they will constitute the 3rd country in the world.

Other take aways from the plenary session are: That the number of deaths from diabetes mellitus is averaging about 5 million per year and is more than the combined totality of deaths from HIV/TB and malaria put together and that community-based prevalence in Nigeria in Nigeria show rural preponderance of 1 to 2 percent and 6 to 10 percent in urban population translating to about 5 million people.

Another takeaways from the last plenary session which was on nephrology, according to the communique was that one-third of the global population is at increased risk of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and that the risk for the development of diabetic nephropathy has a genetic component that is likely polygenetic, of which Africans have a high genetic risk.

The takeaway from the session was that diabetes nephropathy is the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease.



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