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Parliament needs to intervene in the fight against Non Communicable Diseases

Published 2 years ago -


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Parliament of Uganda paying its last respects to MP Stanley Omwonya. Another mp fallen to a non -communicable disease.

Tragedy struck again in Parliament with the death of MP Stanley Omwonya representing Okora County in Zombo. The 65-year-old legislator succumbed to a heart attack on 2nd November at 4.00am local time at the International Hospital Kampala (IHK).[1] He was the 9th Member of Parliament to pass on in the 9th Parliament[2] and the tenure of Parliament is 5 years.

During the special sitting on 4th of November to honor the fallen Member, it was mentioned that most of them had succumbed to Non-Communicable Disease (NCD/s). Given the facts that relate to NCDs, it’s important that we do not let the same fate befall a number of Ugandans especially those from low income households.

NCDs refers to a group of conditions that are not mainly caused by an acute infection, result in long-term health consequences and often create a need for long-term treatment and care. These conditions include cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung illnesses. According to a report by the world Health Organization, NCDs are closely linked to poverty and threaten progress towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, now the Sustainable Development Goals and post-2015 development agenda.

In addition, the death caused by these diseases is predicted to rise by 17% over the next 10 years and overtake death caused by communicable diseases like Malaria and HIV/AIDS. The rapid rise in NCDs is also predicted to impede poverty reduction initiatives in low-income countries, particularly by increasing household costs associated with health care. Vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people get sicker and die sooner than people of higher social positions, especially because they are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products, such as tobacco or unhealthy food, and have limited access to health services.

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It is also said external funding will be more inclined towards funding the prevention NCDs in the post 2015, however, as a country we should not rely on this because research by the world health organization has shown that donor funding in most cases does not align closely with the disease burden. The gap between donor funding of NCDs and the actual disease burden worldwide is the largest unlike the funding for HIV/AIDS and maternal, newborn and child health. NCDs constitute 50% of the total disease burden worldwide but in 2011 only received over 1% of the funding[3].

Parliament can do a lot for the war against NCDs, it can appropriate money to battle the conditions, and however funding alone is not enough.  Parliament needs to perform its tripartite mandate of: representation, legislation and oversight if Uganda desires to battle the conditions associated with NCDs. NCDS should be put as strategic priorities in Health Sector plans by providing the infrastructure and human resources to ready health delivery platforms for NCD prevention and control. This could be through decisions to increase the health sector budget, monitoring programmes directed towards the fight against NCDs. The health sectors holding stakeholders accountable for monies disbursed to fund programmes.

At the end of the day we should Parliament should realise there is a problem that needs solutions and fast before we lose more Ugandan’s to NCDs

[1] http://www.elections.co.ug/new-vision/election/1407508/stanley-omwonya-okora-county-mp-dies-aged-65

[2] Honorable Aronda Nyakairima, Honorable Gregory Matovu, Honorable Cerina Nebanda, Honorable Stephen Malinga, Honorable Michael Oromait, Honorable Joy Arinaitwe, Honorable James Mutende, Honorale Eriya Kategaya and Honorable Stanley Omwonya

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[3] World Health Organization

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