National and international health experts on Thursday launched Cambodia’s first non-communicable diseases (NCDs) alliance network, expressing concerns over treatment with 64 per cent of deaths in the Kingdom caused by such afflictions.
At the network’s launch in Phnom Penh, attended by almost 100 officials from the Ministry of Health and international health organisations, and members of the community, a 2018 World Health Organisation (WHO) report was used to highlight that 64 per cent of deaths in Cambodia were due to NCDs.
Of this figure, cardiovascular diseases accounted for 24 per cent of deaths, cancers 14 per cent, chronic respiratory diseases four per cent, diabetes two per cent, and other NCDs, including mental and neurological disorders, 20 per cent. NCDs affected people aged between 30 and 70.
“It is difficult to grasp these figures because they are so high. For the NCDs alliance network, we will hold joint discussions and compile information, and all relevant parties will bring their commitment to tackling non-communicable diseases."
“It is necessary for all of us to work together. We will then have to disseminate our findings to citizens and mobilise budgets for hospitals as they work to combat non-communicable diseases,” Or Vandine, the ministry’s secretary of state, told reporters.
Vandine said in the past, relevant parties seemed not to have paid enough attention to non-communicable diseases, overlooking their dangers and leading them to become the main cause of death for Cambodians, destroying lives and communities, and impacting the economy.
“Non-communicable diseases not only affect people’s health and wellbeing but also causes the families of the sufferers of these chronic diseases to fall into financial difficulties as they care for them for the rest of their lives.”
She appealed to people to take measures to stay healthy and avoid high blood pressure by keeping their intake of sugar, salt and fat low, exercising and having regular medical check-ups.
“Eating salty foods and those high in sugar and fat, smoking cigarettes and the harmful intake of alcohol is a lifestyle towards the high risk of developing non-communicable diseases,” a press release from the panel of national and international health experts said.
‘Lead to economic challenges’
Non-communicable diseases refer to chronic ones that develop gradually and lead to an early death. They include heart disease, strokes, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, it said.
The WHO report on Cambodia said 59,900 people died of non-communicable diseases in 2016.
A 2018 Ministry of Health report shows that of 7,511,289 people aged between 25 and 65, 841,264 were likely to have high blood pressure and 217,827 diabetes.
The same report said that last year, almost 1,000 people died of non-communicable diseases, with 728 deaths caused by heart disease and strokes, 56 due to diabetes and 33 to high blood pressure.
“[If] we cannot control non-communicable diseases, their effects will lead to challenges in economic development,” said Nargiza Khodjaeva, WHO non-communicable diseases director.