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‘Health threats cannot be managed by the health sector alone’

By Lillian Namusoke Magezi, Jacky Achan

Added 14th February 2018 06:25 PM

When it comes to non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes, cancer, chronic kidney disease and heart disease), Dr. Karuiki decried the fact that unhealthy diets have increasingly become a risk factor.

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Unhealthy diets have increasingly become a risk factor.

When it comes to non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes, cancer, chronic kidney disease and heart disease), Dr. Karuiki decried the fact that unhealthy diets have increasingly become a risk factor.

The global health landscape is currently facing three major disasters that is climate change, the rise of non-communicable diseases which are leading killers worldwide, and increasing resistance to antibiotics.

What is worrying is that these are not natural, but all are man-made disasters, which means they can be prevented, said Dr. Sicily Karuiki, the cabinet secretary for health in the Kenyan government.

Dr. Karuiki made the remarks while opening the 8th annual scientific and health conference organized by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

The conference, being held at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, has drawn over 450 scientists from Africa and beyond, including a team from Uganda. The Ugandan team, led by Dr. Dilly’s Walker, is engaged in researching pre-term Birth Initiatives.

When it comes to non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes, cancer, chronic kidney disease and heart disease), Dr. Karuiki decried the fact that unhealthy diets have increasingly become a risk factor.

She noted that more and more people are resorting to eating highly processed foods that are cheap, convenient and tasty. Therefore, they are gaining a bigger market share than fresh fruits and vegetables, which are healthier.
 
She urged all policy makers from all sectors of government, not only health, to come together and fight the three challenges leading to bad health, noting that: “If these slow motion disasters go unchecked, they will eventually reach a tipping point where the harm is irreversible.”

Researchers urged to work with journalists

In line with the theme of the conference ‘health research for sustainable development’, scientists and researchers have been urged to work with journalists to disseminate their findings in order to influence policy.

Speaking at the same conference, Dr. Naphtali N. Agata, the chair of KEMRI board of management, told researchers that conducting research on its own will not lead them very far, but if the findings are shared, then their research will influence policy and lead to further research.

Agata also noted that journalists need to be mentored to disseminate scientific findings more accurately.

 

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