By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/ Umoja Standard.
Mulago, Uganda: While speaking at Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Symposium 2023, Dr. Fred Bukachi the Director of Africa Rural Universities Alliance, (ARUA) and Consultant Cardiologist at University of Nairobi stressed that the alliance works towards supporting research in NCDs in general which helps identify and solve the day today problems that Africans face in lie like hypertension, diabetes , Cancer, Respiratory diseases among others.
He said, their aim is to promote innovations on how they can get newer ways in w hich they can resolve issues of Non-Communicable Diseases in the region region.
Dr. Fred Bukachi, the Director of Africa Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and Consultant Cardiologist at University of Nairobi addresses at the Symposium. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
“ARUA is an alliance of five Universities that is to say, Makerere University of Uganda, University of Nairobi, Witwatersrand University in South Africa, University of Ghana and Ibadan University in Nigeria because we share common problems therefore out of research, we can inform policies so that governments can help support the idea of preventing Non Communicable Diseases”. Said Dr. Bukachi.
“For the public, there is no one in sub Saharan Africa who doesn’t know someone with diabetes, hypertension, stroke or dialysis so it is a common problem across Africa and the best thing is to join and hands and as researchers, how can we be able to join hands, get a common solution and how our governments under the African Union can also be able have policies to solve the problem”. He added.
At the Symposium, Dr. Frank Mugabe from Ministry of Health revealed that everyone can get Non-Communicable Diseases that include pressure, diabetes, asthma, Cancer and others. He said, according to research conducted in villages of Iganga and Mayuge districts indicate that 56% are the youths with Non Communicable Diseases.
“In the recent past, we thought such diseases are for old people and fat ones but we revealed that 56% are children before 4 years, 70% are those affected by road accidents and are 40 years and below.
He sought that every Ugandan participates into preventive ways like making drills, minding the food one eats, go for fruits, greens, avoid a lot of salt and sugar because when you prevent yourself from this, you’ll live a happy life.
Prof. Damalie Nakanjako, the Principal Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) revealed that NCDs are already a burden to most Ugandans and that as people improve their lifestyle, these are expected to be on arise by 2040.
Professor Damalie Nakanjako, the Principal Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS). Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
Asked how they manage the use of herbs to treat NCDs, Prof. Nakanjako stated that researchers look at them and ascertain what they can do in the body regarding management of NCDs.
“For each herbal, before we use it and recommend it for a particular disease, we test it in our laboratories to see what is the active ingredient and what it does to the body”. Quotes Dr. Damalie.
She affirmed that as College of Health Sciences, they are committed to meet the burden of NCDs in the country by training human resources to be able to handle these diseases for generations.
“Our commitment is to build capacity in the country because we train students in all districts in the country”. Dr. Nakanjako.
The symposium was organized under the theme; Advances in NCD Training, research and community impact with an objective of providing a forum for dissemination of advances in different NCDs with regard to training and research and their impact on community in Uganda and East Africa.
The symposium captured important sub themes that included; Cardiovascular diseases, Renal Diseases, Diabetes Mellitus & Other Endocrine Disorders, Cancers, Mental Health Disorders, Respiratory Diseases and Lung Health, Sickle Cell Disease and Other Haematological Conditions, Interactions between NCDS and Infectious Diseases.
This brought about, Researchers, Academics, policy-makers, practitioners and Health Advocates with special interest in NCDS.