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A case for non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

Our focus at GHFI is on preventing and minimizing the risks of con-communicable diseases. Non-communicable diseases risk factors are:

  • Dietary changes
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Reliance on automobile transport
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Urbanisation

The risk factors are mostly lifestyle-based and preventable, minimized and managed through primary health care and health promotion strategies. Interventions include nutrition, exercise, and no smoking and reduce alcohol as it affect the condition of our arteries and hearts.


Globally, the rate of deaths from noncommunicable causes, such as heart disease, stroke, and injuries, is growing. At the same time, the number of deaths from infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and vaccine-preventable diseases, is decreasing.

According to the 2015 Global Burden of Disease Study, NCDs accounted for 71%, or 40 million, of the 56 million deaths globally in 2015. NCDs are now the leading cause of death in many low- and middle-income countries, with cardiovascular disease, cancers, respiratory disease, and diabetes accounting for the largest number of NCD-related deaths.

Many in the global health field believe that reducing the burden of NCDs is essential to ending extreme poverty, reducing inequality, and improving health and wellbeing. The World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan calls for health systems strengthening that can improve prevention, early detection, treatment, and sustained management of people with or at risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and other NCDs. This systems strengthening must include the strengthening of primary care systems and the integration of NCDs into programs targeting other priority health issues, such as nutrition, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, reproductive health, and maternal and child health.

Most developing countries are not prepared to deal with the rising rates of noncommunicable diseases that can come with age, poor diet, and better detection. One-third of adults over age 25 or about one billion people suffer from high blood pressure, the world’s number one cause of premature death and disability.


Global Health Fitness Issues

Global Health and Fitness impacts us all:

  • During the last two decades there has been a fundamental shift in global patterns of disease.
  • New epidemics of chronic illness are following in the wake of rapid urbanization and economic change.
  • Communicable vs non-communicable disease
  • A non-communicable disease (NCD) is a medical condition or disease that is not caused by infectious agents.
  • NCDs refer to chronic diseases which last for long periods of time and progress slowly.
  • NCDs are the leading cause of death globally.


Here are the leading global health fitness issues:

  • NCDs: Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes
  • Mental Health
  • Nutrient levels fall, obesity rates rise
  • Youths and substance abuse
  • Dangerous complacency towards HIV
  • Shortages of primary healthcare workers and doctors.


Mental Health – The mental health consequences of war, displacement, gender-based violence, natural disasters, and other trauma. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia, substance abuse, and other mental health challenges that affect mental health and well-being are fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think and interact with each other, earn a living, and enjoy life,” says a World Health Organization.

Nutrient levels fall, obesity rates rise – Hunger goes hand-in-hand with poverty, and food scarcity is still a huge health care challenge around the world. We’re seeing the effects of a high-calorie, low-nutrient diet in our rising rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, ailments that overburden our health sectors. The same dangerous food trends (and the noncommunicable diseases that result) are now spreading into poorer nations.

Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes – Cancer kills more people in low- and middle-income countries than HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

Youth – Today we have the largest population of youth in human history. Of the seven billion people on the planet, more than three billion are under the age of 25. More than 80% percent of 15- to 25-year-olds live in developing countries.

Dangerous complacency around HIV – Great strides in HIV treatment and management over the past decade, along with successes in reducing the stigma against people who live with the virus, have had some troubling side effects. In some areas, such as northern Namibia (where HIV rates among women in particular reach almost 31%, many have come to think of HIV as a normal part of life, a manageable issue like any other chronic condition. The results can include a loss of caution and more new infections.While UNAIDS and other major organizations have vowed to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. We’re now at a crucial point from which it will be all too easy to backslide.

Strikes, shortages and other labor woes in the health workforce – Specialized nurses leave the country en masse for jobs in North America and Europe. And massive strike amongst health workers demanding better working conditions has left millions of people without access to health care. The global shortage of health workers is getting worse. And in many countries, it’s leaving doctors, nurses, midwives and others to burn out in bad working conditions – or leave their countries altogether – while their communities suffer under lower-quality care.


What is Fitness

Fitness refers to general physical fitness which is a state of strength and well-being, and the ability to comfortably perform aspects of sports, occupations, and daily activities required for survival. Our bodies are created to move, constantly.  It is also our duty to nourish our bodies well.





What is Global Health?

The world is becoming more globalized socially and therefore it is necessary to think about health in a global context.

Global Health is an area of study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving the health for all people around the world, using a full range of public health and health promotion strategies. There are different definitions of global health but this is the one we prefer to use, partly from Kaplan JP etal. Lancet 2009, 373:1.


Global health crucial and affects everyone:

1.Rarely a week goes by without a headline about the emergence or re-emergence of an infectious disease or other health threat somewhere in the world.

2.Example of Ebola and Zika virus

3.You can travel to certain countries without being vaccinated in the hope that you don’t get sick and bring the sickness back to your home countries

4.You can’t travel to certain countries if you have certain infectious diseases

5.A sickly nation can be a burden to itself and other nations who have to spend resources to reduce the impact of the disease instead of funding infrastructure, money is going to fighting preventable diseases.