The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes, is on the rise at a concerning rate. Currently, NCDs account for 70 percent of the country’s total deaths. Against this backdrop, strengthening the preventive measures through robust health promotion activities will, on one hand, reduce the likelihood of the masses falling ill, thus reducing the need for frequent medical attention, and on the other hand, will curb the burden of medical expenses for individuals and the government overall. With a view to raising awareness on health promotion programs and the needful, 17 organizations, including PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), Bangladesh University of Health Science, and Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, jointly organized a virtual conference titled ‘Health Promotion in Bangladesh’ today (21 November, Tuesday). The conference was attended by a wide range of stakeholders including policymakers, public health experts, doctors, lawyers, educators, and representatives from different public health and environmental organizations.
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), discussants in the conference said, health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health and its determinants. Use of tobacco products, sedentary lifestyle lacking physical activities, consumption of alcohol, less intake of healthy diet, and air pollution are, in general, identified as the foremost risk factors for NCDs. Since such risk factors can be entirely avoided or controlled, NCD deaths are often referred to as ‘preventable deaths’.
It was also informed during the conference that health promotion comprises of prioritizing the strengthening of the disease prevention system through the adoption and implementation of an integrated program. A total of 11 countries, including Thailand, Singapore, and Australia, have already adopted health promotion programs. However, Bangladesh is yet to adopt or implement any integrated measure to strengthen the health development or disease prevention system. The government is committed to reducing NCD deaths to one-third by 2030. Immediate adoption and implementation of health promotion programs will certainly help the government reach the goal and other health-related ones.
A five-point declaration on health promotion and overall improvement of the country’s healthcare system was also released at the end of the conference.