RUNDU - The Namibia Network of AIDS Service Organisations (Nanaso) is currently training community health workers on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as asthma, hypertension and diabetes to name a few.
The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
The weeklong training that ends today started on Monday and they are training 49 community health workers from the two Kavango regions. A similar training is also underway in Mariental, Hardap Region were 34 health workers are also attending training. “So that is the training that we are giving to community health workers so that they can do more while working in their communities. We are also going to take them to a health facility for some technical practice, like how to use the BP (Blood Pressure) machine and so on,” said Zack Makari, a trainer at Nanaso.
According to Makari, community health workers have been the people doing activities around HIV, Malaria, and TB and they will be more suitable to equip communities with knowledge on prevention and how to handle it.
“As you also know NCDs are affecting our people in the various communities, for example the study that was carried out clearly stipulates that asthma, diabetes and blood pressure is a problem more especially even in the three targeted regions for various reasons, like for asthma it’s the dust and so its a problem everywhere. We found out that we encounter these problems but because of lack of knowledge, we don’t adhere to either seek medical attention or to even do the basics, for example the issue of how do we take care of our bodies from these NCDs,” he said.
“Do we ever eat a balanced diet, do we know that eating fatty foods or too much sugary food is causing problems to our bodies. Eventually you will arrive at a point where you realise that this are some of the information that we are supposed to share with households and various communities so that eventually everyone of us is able to know that and that’s how the community health workers comes in,” Makari added.
According to research, noncommunicable diseases kill about 41 million people each year, the equivalent of 71 percent of all deaths globally. Each year, 15 million people who succumb to NCDs are between the ages of 30 and 69 years; over 85 percent of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries and Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.0 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million).
These diseases account for over 80 percent of all premature NCD deaths while Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from a NCD.
Detection, screening and treatment of NCDs, as well as palliative care, are key components of the response to NCDs.
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviour factors.
NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths or 32 million occur.