Yearlong national health campaign begins today

Published On: April 14, 2017 12:40 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 14: With the aim to raise health awareness and make people health-conscious, the government has declared the Nepali New Year 2074 BS as My Year: My Health and My Healthy Country. The yearlong begins Friday with the commencement of the Nepali New Year. 

Organizing a press meet at the Ministry of Health (MoH) on Thursday, Health Minister Gagan Thapa announced that the coming year will be the year to work on health programs aimed at ensuring people's right to health. “The campaign will be launched at 7:30AM from Dasharath Stadium. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is scheduled to launch the campaign,” he added.

Only opening hospitals, assigning doctors and allocating budget for the health sector are not enough to make the people and nation healthy, said Minister Thapa. “People also should be responsible to take care of their health and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “So the campaign will focus on the concerns of the health sector at a time when the death rate of people from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing alarmingly.”

According to the MoH, one-third of the total population is suffering from hypertension while 15 percent from diabetes. Forty-four percent deaths and 80 percent of OPD patients are affected by NCDs. Out of the OPD patients in hospitals, 43 percent suffer from COPD (respiratory problems), 40 percent from heart problems, 12 percent from diabetes and five percent from cancer.

“These results are caused by our own lifestyles and eating habits,” said Minister Thapa. “Some 18.5 percent of the population consumes tobacco products and 15 percent of them are women, the highest in South Asia,” he said, “Seventeen percent of population consumes alcohol.”

Eighteen percent of the population is affected by obesity while four percent are suffering from high obesity, according to the ministry. Seventy-four percent of the people in rural areas burn wood and manure for cooking while people in the urban areas are forced to inhale fumes from vehicles, industries and waste burning, according to the ministry.

On the other hand, people are using adulterated food grown by applying huge amounts of pesticides, and they have followed unhealthy lifestyles, said Thapa. “So the campaign will be conducted to raise awareness among people. The campaign has five mottos.”

These five mottos are -I don't take alcohol and tobacco products; I exercise regularly; I take healthy and nutritious foods; I go for regular health checkups; and I will be aware of my family's health and community too.

“The government will work to provide health services to the people with the available resources,” said Minister Thapa. “Necessary equipment, reasonable number of health workers and other facilities will be provided to hospitals, health centers and health posts across the country within a year,” he claimed.

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