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Fitness for Health Africa

Statement of Need

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent one of the country’s major health challenges, both in terms of human suffering, as well as its negative impact on socioeconomic development. Cardiovascular diseases are by far the leading killer, with more than 5 million deaths estimated to take place annually from these causes alone. By 2030, NCDs are estimated to contribute to 75% of global deaths, which means that NCDs are having even greater impact on all levels of health services, as well as health care costs as they are having today.

Doctors are overwhelmed with the number of patients suffering from lifestyle diseases. Up to 80% of the heart disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes, and more than 30% of cancers can be prevented through physical activity and nutritional health as experts associate the prevalence of NCD with lifestyles, especially tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.

In Kenya, more than 50% of all hospital admissions and 55 % of hospital deaths are due to NCDs. The most common of these are heart diseases; cancer and diabetes, blood pressure and kidneys loss because emergence of technology has made majority of our duties and tasks reachable with less movements. From computers to computer games, televisions to chunk food, motor vehicles, mobile phones and the internet. This has led to poor diet and inactivity hence accumulation of toxins in our bodies.

World Health Organization statistics indicates that 60% of deaths which translates to 36 million deaths and physical impairments are caused by lifestyle diseases (Non communicable diseases). In Kenya this has threatened developments and hampered the country’s quest to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The burden of chronic disease: have major adverse effects on the quality of life of affected individuals; causes premature death; creates large adverse and underappreciated economic effects on families, communities and societies in general.

Besides the burden of deaths a, non communicable diseases pose a greater social and economic burden to the economy. Several factors are implicated in this increasing burden; longer average lifespan, tobacco use, decreasing physical activity, harmful use of alcohol and increasing consumption of unhealthy foods. Fortunately, non-communicable diseases are largely preventable. Up to 80% of premature deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes can be averted through interventions.

The cost of inaction is clear and unacceptable. Through investing in vigorous and well-targeted prevention and control now, there is a real opportunity to make significant progress and improve the lives of populations across the country.

Prevention and control of NCDs requires a wide range of multi-level, multi-sectoral measures aimed at the full spectrum of NCD determinants (from individual-level to structural) to create the necessary conditions for leading healthy lives. This includes promoting and supporting healthy lifestyles and choices, relevant legislation and policies; preventing and detecting disease at the earliest possible moment to minimize suffering and reduce costs; and provide patients with the best possible integrated health care throughout the life cycle including empowerment, rehabilitation and palliation.

It is from this background that Fitness for Health Initiative –Africa (FHI-A) was founded, to mitigate the impacts of lifestyle diseases through physical activity and healthy diet. FHI-A aims at raising awareness, motivating and encouraging communities on the need to adopt healthy diets and physical activity. Developing Countries including Africa have an opportunity to reduce the burden of NCDs by concentrating funding needs on prevention measures as primary healthcare interventions. In turn this will change population behaviors and safe up to 47 Billion shillings used on both treatment and pharmaceutical demand.

Fitness for Health Initiative Africa

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