Despite sufferings and deaths from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Cameroon, many are still so unaware of this concern. Through the ‘Know Your Numbers’ initiative supported by Novartis Access, the NCD Program of the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services has been reaching out to communities through media to raise their awareness.
Awareness creation and sensitization on Non-communicable diseases intensified national media in a media tour in January 2019. The team, led by Mr. Mbiydzenyuy Ferdinant, including Dr. Njume Epie, the Clinical Adviser for the Program and Nadege Ngeh, Communications Officer, carried out health talks in key major media organs in Cameroon including Radio Hot Cocoa, CBC Radio, Abakwa, Ndefcam, Cameroon Radio and Television, Equinox, Canal 2 English, and Spectrum Television. The Independent Observer Newspaper amongst others also published articles on this airwave hit tour.
“If inaction continuous, Non-communicable disease will take a bad toll on a population with limited knowledge on their prevention and this can be devastating” Prof. Tih Pius Director of CBC Health Services Forewarned in one of his interviews on the Health Mirror.
NCDs are currently the world’s number one killer responsible for more than 70% of annual global deaths and for the purposes of global focus, NCDs have been classified into four major categories namely, Cardiovascular diseases (such as Strokes, Hypertension and Heart Diseases), Cancers (All types of cancers), Diabetes and Chronic Respiratory diseases. These four are responsible for the highest number of NCD deaths (82%) and possess four shared modifiable risk factors; tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. Mental health disorders, Sickle Cell, Trauma and other NCDs of interest likewise stress, a major almost forgotten risk factor.
The Population had the opportunity to get these explanations as the team went from media house to media house welcomed and interviewed for both news, audio and visual shows including Cameroon Feeling, Highlands Show, the Forum, etc.
According to WHO statistics, in Cameroon, NCDs are responsible for 35% of annual deaths in 2018, an increase from 31% in 2010
In 2013, the surge in the numbers of cases presenting with these diseases prompted the CBC Health Services, a major Healthcare Provider in Cameroon, to initiate a comprehensive response to tackle them. This started with a Situational Analysis of NCD cases between 2011– 2015 which showed a 40% increase in new cases, depicting the severity of the problem and the need for an urgent response.
“The CBC Health Services’ NCD Prevention and Control program’s vision is to see Communities free from the avoidable burden of NCDs. Hence activities seek to help reduce deaths, illnesses, and disabilities from avoidable NCDs. Awareness creation being one of our major pillars, to educate the community on the rising burden of NCDs, their risk factors, and prevention.” The Program Manager, Mr. Mbiydzenyuy Ferdinant reiterated this mission across during the tour.
He said that “the hope is always that, raising awareness on these NCDs and their risk factors should help the communities adopt healthier lifestyles and environmental choices that can help reduce their exposure to avoidable NCDs.”
The team also strongly highlighted the place of risk factors of tobacco use, second-hand and biofuel smokes and others and advised the communities to avoid alcohol misuse, encouraged regular physical exercise, and to eat healthy with more fruits and vegetables.
The sessions did not go into too many details of each disease or risk factor but wetted the appetite of all presenters and the listeners on the need to know more. This indicated that more awareness needs to be created across these platforms as a way of keeping the community aware and joining the fight to #beatNCDs in Cameroon.
“Not everything that is sweet in the mouth is good for the body, and not everything that is good for the body is sweet in the mouth” I love this phrase. Heard it yesterday on Equinox TV from your NCD expert: Testified Kwajika Nyumbof on CBC Health Services’ Facebook page.
This program was made possible by support from Novartis Access.