Action Plan to Tackle NCD
“I am optimistic that this action plan developed through extensive consultation with stakeholders at all levels will provide the much needed roadmap to take coordinated and coherent actions to attain national and international NCD targets, ‘’ said Dr. Ornella Lincetto, WHO representative to Bhutan. Bhutan with the growing need to tackle Non Communicable Diseases ( NCD) launched strategic five year action plan last Wednesday.
Non communicable disease is a medical condition or disease that is non – transmissible. It can also refer to chronic diseases which last for long period of time and progress slowly. NCDS are now not undermined for killers of sick and frail. Records from WHO show that NCDS are responsible for more than 14 million premature deaths in the economically productive age group and 86 per cent of the burden of these premature deaths is borne by developing nations resulting in millions of people trapped in poverty through high cost of medical care.
Heart diseases, diabetes, cancers and respiratory diseases are some common non communicable diseases which are posing huge burden among the Bhutanese population. Health record claims that cardiovascular diseases constitute a majority of cases at 28 per cent, cancer at nine per cent, respiratory diseases at six per cent and diabetes at two. Risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and indoor pollution are area of focus in the plan besides the four types of NCDS-cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.
The plan aims at reducing preventable and avoidable burden of morbidity, mortality and disability due to communicable disease through multispectral collaboration and cooperation at the national, Dzongkhags, Gewog and community levels.
One of the 10 targets set in the action plan is to reduce harmful use of alcohol by five per cent by 2020, a per cent each year, and by 10 per cent by 2025.
The action plan states that the per capita consumption of alcohol is eight litres as compared to the global consumption of 6.2 per cent of pure alcohol per person 15 years and older. Revision and raise in taxation on alcohol is headed by the economic affairs committee.
The plan also aims to reduce the use of tobacco in persons over 15 years, by 15 per cent in the next five years. It will be done by doubling the rate to 30 per cent by 2025.
A survey conducted in 2013 uncovered that Bhutanese students were the highest consumer of tobacco both at the regional and global level.
One of the many targets is also to encourage physical activity among urban people. Along with the plan, the WHO representative Dr Ornella Lincetto and Secretary for the Ministry of Health Dr Dorji Wangchuck inaugurated the WHO sponsored outdoor gymnasiums in Thimphu.
What actually concerns the Health officials is the unhealthy diet Bhutanese follow, which comprise of low consumption of fruits and vegetables, high intake of salt and high consumption of saturated and Trans fats. The plan also targets reduction in mean population intake of salt by 15 per cent in net five years.
Volumes of Kanjur, Sung Bums and texts on Sowa Rigpa were also handed over to the alumni of National Institute of Traditional Medicine by Dr Ornella Lincetto.