Ahsan Iqbal for promoting healthy lifestyle to prevent non communicable diseases


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal Monday highlighted significance of health issues such as non communicable diseases and how they could be prevented by promoting healthy lifestyle.

The minister was addressing a round table conference (RTC) on ‘Prevention of Non Communicable Diseases by promoting a healthy lifestyle’ here.

The RTC aims to address the challenge of non communicable diseases which include improving our health care system and increasing awareness about the diseases and healthy lifestyle, implementation of provision of Vision 2025 and 11th National Five Year Plan (2013-2018).

Other stakeholders including officials of health sector and media were also present.

Ahsan Iqbal said improving health care system was primarily responsibility of government and it required time and allocation of money and government was taking initiatives to address this issue.

Recently, Prime Minister Health Insurance Programme is one such major step in this direction.

The minister said health issues were not being discussed in media and political discourse however he appreciated the senior journalist Javed Chaudhary for highlighting health issues in his recent column.

He said health was the most important factor in individual’s life.

“Economics, politics and other things are all dependent on good health of individuals and of a nation but unfortunately, historically health has been neglected in Pakistan”, the minister said.

Ahsan Iqbal said all age groups and all regions were affected by non communicable diseases.

These diseases were driven by forces that included lack of knowledge, rapid unplanned urbanization, and globalization of unhealthy lifestyles.

He maintained it was the responsibility of government and other stakeholders like media, schools, physicians and communities to create awareness about the diseases and healthy lifestyle and how they could be prevented.

He said there was a need to increase awareness about non communicable diseases which was not costly due to social media these days.

The minister also highlighted that health and education were responsibilities of provincial governments after 18th amendment but it was also the responsibility of nation as a whole.

He said diseases including diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and thalassemia were increasing each day.

Not only poor’s, but middle class and upper middle class were also becoming the victims of these life taking diseases.

Non healthy life style including smoking, inadequate physical exercise and bad dietary habits are the primary reason.

“We are developing a shared understanding of the health value chain in partnership with provinces as well as with the general public under Vision 2025.

The emphasis is to work with provinces on access to healthcare and ensuring a standard level of service delivery throughout the country”, he added.

While talking about 11th National Five Year Plan (2013-18) – strategic priorities, the minister said investment in the hospital infrastructure, health education and awareness would help control cardiac, diabetic and other degenerative diseases.

He said every progressive society followed the rule of ‘Early to Bed and Early to Rise’ which was a healthy activity in itself.

Everyone had to be a part of healthy activities in order to beat non communicable diseases. Every government officer needed to become a development leader.

It was the duty of federal government to make Islamabad, Fata, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan a ‘Model’ for all provinces of the country, the minister said.

Senior Journalist and Anchorperson Javed Chaudhary also appreciated sincere efforts of Ahsan Iqbal and said “We all should promote healthy activities starting from our own home by making our children indulge in sports so that they become physically active.”

He raised a point that government should make it mandatory to get medical certificate before getting married so that these non communicable diseases can be controlled. “We cannot progress with unhealthy nation”, he concluded.

Source: APP

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