MUHIMBILI University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) has implored the African countries to focus on advancing psychological research in response to the increasing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The call was made on Wednesday by MUHAS Acting Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Appolinary Kamuhabwa, when officiating the first East African Society of Physiological Science (EASPS) conference organised in collaboration with African Association of Physiological Science (AAPS) held in Dar es Salaam.
The NCDs are reported to be on the rise, not only in Tanzania but also in other parts of the world at large. Tabling the 2023/2024 budget estimates for her docket, in the august House, the Minister for Health, Ms Ummy Mwalimu stated that from July 2022 to March 2023, NCDs that caused many patients to attend health care centres included high blood pressure (890,788 patients, or 3.8 per cent), compared to 3.6 per cent in the same period in 2021/22 and diabetes (436,232 patients, or 1.8 per cent).
She went on to say that heart disease caused 1,388 deaths, or 6.0 per cent of all deaths, compared to 5.4 per cent of deaths caused by the condition in the same period in 2021/22.
According to the national study on indications of noncommunicable diseases (Steps Survey 2012) in Tanzania indicated that there was high presence of NCDs, whereby one in each four people had high blood pressure and one in each 10 people had diabetes. It also found out that there was an increase of risky behaviours such as the use of tobacco by 15.9 per cent, alcohol abuse by 29.3 per cent as well as unhealthy eating.
“Worldwide we are facing many diseases, especially NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer among others, so physiology itself is a discipline that is designed to provide some answers to this kind of diseases,” “So, I believe when there is a deliberate advance in the areas of training and research in terms of prevention and treatments as well as rehabilitation for those affected will mitigate the impact of the diseases,” Prof Kamuhabwa.
According to WHO, NCDs kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 74 per cent of all deaths globally. Of all NCD deaths, 77 per cent are in low- and middle-income countries. In line, Prof Kamuhabwa encouraged seniors particularly professors to strongly mentor the juniors adding teaching research and practice in physiology need strong mentorship.
In a related development, he commended the organiser for choosing Tanzania to host the first conference. “As a country we are very proud and honoured that this first conference took place in Tanzania …this is an indication that we are trusted and peaceful that’s why many people come to Tanzania,” he underlined.
Regarding the conference, EASPS President Prof Abdullateef Alagbonsi noted that the conference will upscale the physiological activities in the region.
A -three day the conference themed “Advancing Physiological Training, Research and Practice in Africa” was attended by over 100 delegates from 22 countries globally including Tanzania, Kenya, Russian, Nigeria, Japan, among others.