Adolescents crucial to combating non-communicable diseases

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  • The younger generation can play a crucial role in curbing cancer, diabetes, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular diseases, the four main types of non-communicable diseases. More than two-thirds of preventable and premature deaths in adults attributed to NCDs are associated with risk behaviour that started during adolescence.
    The risk of NCDs is increased by tobacco use, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.
    There were 3 million inpatients, 12 million outpatients, and 760,000 kidney and liver transplants and heart surgeries performed during the three years from April, 2015 to April, 2018.
    There has been an annual increase in non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac-related complications and cancer, while the spread of communicable diseases has reduced.
    According to figures released by the World Health Organization in 2018, about 65 per cent of deaths in Myanmar can be attributed to non-communicable diseases caused by four risk behaviours: consumption of tobacco and related products, alcohol, unsafe food; lack of physical exercise; and, air pollution.
    Premature deaths in the 30-70 age group make up 24 per cent of the total deaths in the country.
    The number of deaths from non-communicable diseases has risen from 48 per cent in 2014 to 52 per cent in 2017.
    The people of Myanmar are still not equipped for leading a high-quality life, which is why they are still facing threats from these diseases.
    We welcome the activity to be jointly implemented by the Ministry of Health and Sports and Plan International Myanmar from 2019 to 2021, which aims to reduce non-communicable diseases through protection from known risk factors among young people.
    As adolescents make up one fourth of the total population of the country, they play an important role in the economic development of the country. Adolescents are our future, in whom we have invested many hopes, and they have a right to the highest attainable standard of health and well-being. They deserve to get the appropriate treatment and protection from risk factors and effective prevention from non-communicable diseases from our societies or health systems.
    Thus, the activity is a welcome step forward in reducing the mortality rate of our people from non-communicable diseases. If we can provide quality healthcare to all families and people in our nation, then we will not only prevent premature deaths, but empower our citizens to lead healthy lives. A healthy life leads to a healthy mind, and healthy citizens would bring prosperity and development to Myanmar.
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