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SA: Statement by Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, on non-communicable diseases (28/04/2011)

28th April 2011

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Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has expressed serious concern about the increasing rate of non-communicable diseases in South Africa. Speaking shortly after his arrival in Moscow where he is attending the First Global Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Disease Control taking place between today and tomorrow in the Russian capital.

'We are extremely worried by the increasing rate of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or life-style diseases as they are also referred to. It is high time that we mount a serious assault against diseases such as hypertension, diabetes among others in the same way that we are doing against HIV and AIDS', said the health Minister.

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South Africa has over the past number of years seen an increase in diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes increasing among South Africa's population. 'What I find very worrying is the fact that these diseases also affect our younger populations (teenagers included) and the economically active. This cannot be the way to go given the huge challenges of building our country both socially and economically. Most of these diseases are avoidable through simple behaviour change such as avoiding tobacco, regular exercise and good nutrition among others', said Motsoaledi.

The meeting in Moscow, to be addressed by World Health Organisation head Margaret Chan and United Nations chief Ban-Ki-moon seeks to raise political awareness about the importance and potential of prevention and control of NCDs and place them higher on the global and national political agendas. 'As a country we have already recognised the fact that South Africans die at a very young age and we know that apart from HIV and AIDS, non-communicable diseases also play a huge role in this regard. We have placed on our agenda as government the need for a long and healthy life for all South Africans', concluded the health Minister.
 

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