The Rwanda Non-Communicable Disease Alliance (RNCDA) has held a week of activities to raise awareness of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to reduce premature deaths by seeking early diagnosis. Special attention was given to enlist journalists by training them on NCD prevention.
The NCDs week, which is observed worldwide every year, ended with a march from Amahoro Stadium to the Prime Minister’s Office in Kigali. It aims at enhancing the prevention and control of NCDs, which include cancer, diabetes, asthma and cardiovascular diseases.
Crispin Gishoma, the chief executive of the Rwanda Diabetes Association said that age, family history, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and socioeconomic disadvantage were some of the risk factors associated with NCDs. He also stressed that nearly two-thirds of the NCDs deaths are linked to tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.
He also highlighted some challenges to the prevention and control of NCDs in Rwanda.
“We still face challenges in pursuing our mission like the difficult access to people in remote areas; the multitude of bars and nightclubs; and the fact that efforts to control tobacco and alcohol use are still challenged by the opposite adverts,” Gishoma said.
Cardiologist Joseph Mucumbitsi also observed that the myth that NCDs only occur in higher social classes as a challenge, stressing that most victims are poor people.
During the media training, stakeholders in the prevention of NCDs agreed that journalist are in a strategic position to enhance the cause because their messages can reach people of all walks of life.
A plan by RNCDA to offer all journalists free and voluntary screening for NCDs was also announced.