UN Resident Coordinator’s Remarks at the launch of the 2019-2025 Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Multi-sectoral Action Plan for Nigeria
In Nigeria, the burden of NCDs is not known but there are efforts to conduct survey of NCDs risk factors. This exercise should be expedited to provide evidence
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation;
Heads of Departments and Agencies;
Directors, Heads of INGOs/NGOs/CSOs, Patient groups;
Members of the press;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:
On behalf of the UN System in Nigeria, I wish to express my profound pleasure to be part of this history making event to launch the first Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) Multisectoral Action Plan for the country. This is a shining example of what we can achieve, when we work together as partners, with a common vision and a common goal, to serve the people of Nigeria. May I commend the Federal Ministry of Health under the leadership of the Permanent Secretary Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi and his team for their leadership in this process and most especially the Multi-sectoral Technical Working Group for a job well done in the development of the NCD Plan for the country. I welcome all colleagues who came to grace this event from within and outside of Nigeria. We really appreciate your support and welcome you warmly.
At this point, permit me to highlight some key concerns that will remind us all that the NCDs—mainly cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and Mental Health Disorders—are the world’s biggest killers and have now been termed “a silent epidemic”. Among these diseases, CVDs are the number one cause of death accounting for 17.5 million deaths annually with high blood pressure found to be the leading risk factor. These diseases share common risk factors which are; tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and air pollution.
More than 36 million people die annually from NCDs accounting for 63% of global deaths. And this includes more than 14 million people who die too young between the ages of 30 and 70. Low- and middle-income countries already bear 86% of the burden of these premature deaths. The proportion of these high deaths will result in cumulative economic losses of US$7 trillion over the next 15 years.
In Nigeria, the burden of NCDs is not known but there are efforts to conduct survey of NCDs risk factors. This exercise should be expedited to provide evidence of the burden of the risk factors. 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.
Following the 2011 UN High-level meeting, it was recognized that the rising prevalence, morbidity and mortality due to NCDs worldwide can be largely prevented and controlled through collective and multi-sectoral action by all Member states and other relevant stakeholders at local, national, regional and global levels.
The 2013-2020 Global Action Plan therefore provides us with a road map and menu of policy options which, when implemented will contribute to progress on 9 global NCD targets to be attained in 2025, including a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025.
Also, stemming from the four time-bound commitments in the 2014 UN Outcome document, Nigeria joined other member states and committed to developing a national multi-sectoral action plans which aims for implementation of “best buys” to reduce NCD risk factors and strengthen health systems to address NCDs.
The inclusion of NCDs into the 2030 Agenda; with specific targets is a testimony of the international efforts to support governments in the prevention and control NCDs. Let me also draw your attention to the implementation of the Global Hearts – a new initiative comprising three technical packages to prevent and control CVDs. These packages when combined will provide a set of high-impact, evidence-based interventions that, when used together, will have a major impact on improving global heart health.
Nigeria is already in partnership to strengthen hypertension management in Kano and Ogun states using the HEARTS Technical package. This is being supported by the Resolve to Save Lives Program that will be flagged-off later today, again demonstrating what we can achieve when we work together. Nigeria will also be implementing the WHO Package of Essential NCDs interventions which will be strengthening the management of NCDs at the Primary Healthcare level.
Let me therefore conclude by re-assuring you that the UN identifies with the notable steps taken in the development of the plan which are in line with the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach so that NCD prevention and control are mainstreamed in all sectoral policies.
I congratulate us all once again for achieving this huge milestone. The UN stands ready to continue supporting the country especially during the implementation of the plan.
Thank you for your attention.