The Director-General of National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr Obi Adigwe, says 36 million people die annually from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
He said this at the 2nd Annual International Conference, organised by Nigeria Association of Foreign Trained Pharmacists (NAFTraPh) in Abuja.
Adigwe said the NCDs were mainly cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and Mental Health Disorder, which were the world’s biggest killers and have now been termed “silent epidemic”.
“Of the 36 million people that die annually, 14 million die too young between the age of 30 and 70.
CVDs are the number one cause of death accounting for 17.5 million deaths annually with high blood pressure being the leading risk factor for CVDs,” he said.
The DG said the diseases share common risk factors which are tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and air pollution.
He said that the country was facing an increase in the burden of NCDs, with premature mortality from NCDs estimated at 22 per cent.
“According to the 2018 WHO country profile, NCDs accounted for an estimated 29 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria with cardiovascular diseases as the primary cause of NCD-related death 11 per cent.
While, cancers 4 per cent, chronic respiratory diseases 2 per cent and diabetes 1 per cent,” he said.
The DG said other NCDs in Nigeria include sickle cell disease, deafness and hearing loss, blindness, violence and injury including road traffic crashes, oral health including noma and disability.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) launched the first National Multisectoral Action Plan (NNMSAP) for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) for the country on Aug. 6, 2019.
Adigwe said NIPRD as an agency of FMOH, has prioritised the research and development activities on harnessing phytomedicinal remedy from Nigeria’s huge natural plants’ reservoir with documented ethnobotanical usefulness.
The DG said most premature deaths from NCDs are largely preventable by enabling health systems to respond more effectively and equitably to the health-care needs of people with NCDs.
Adigwe also urged pharmacists to utilise their unique proximity to the citizens to promote healthy lifestyle, adequate patient education and counselling of clients on diseases prevention and health promotion activities.