top of page

Non Communicable Diseases: Keeping Ourselves and Communities Healthy

In a recent webinar, we focused on the global emerging threat of Non Communicable Diseases and what we can do to remain healthy in our communities. The session was led by our Co-founder Dr. Ted Lankester, along with Cardiologist Dr. David Wilson, Nurse Christabel Masamandang and Cluster Development Lead Robins Odiyo.

You can listen to the recording below or read the highlights: 

Session Highlights:

  1. Non Communicable Diseases or NCDs are diseases that can’t be transferred from one person to another. They include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease among others. According to the World Health Organisation, they account for 74% of all deaths globally which means that 7 out of 10 people die from NCDs. They are a threat to the whole world with a large percentage affected coming from low and middle income countries.

  2. They can be caused by a variety of factors. NCDs cause a lot of premature deaths. Some of the causes include smoking, family history, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease, dementia, lung cancer, and is also an expensive habit. If a disease runs in your family, you can take treatment to lower your cholesterol in addition to changing your lifestyle.

  3. It is important to know your blood pressure. Blood pressure has two components or numbers. The top number represents the pressure that the arteries are under when the heart pumps. The bottom number is the leftover pressure that is in circulation. A normal blood pressure reading would be 120/80. Checking your blood pressure regularly is important because you can feel fine but have a high blood pressure which puts you at a risk of a stroke, heart attack or heart failure. If you have a pressure cuff, you can learn how to check your blood pressure here.

  4. The best way to avoid Non Communicable Diseases is through prevention. Healthcare does not primarily happen in hospitals. It largely should take place in our homes. We can do alot to reduce early deaths in our communities. The best way is through prevention such as eating a healthy diet, regular exercise (at least 30 minutes per day for five days), and doing occasional tests to know how healthy you are and what you need to change. 

  5. Maintaining a healthy diet is key to reducing blood pressure. Some of the ways you can lower your blood pressure include reducing your salt intake, avoiding processed fats and foods and reducing sugar intake. Some healthy foods to take include legumes and grains, fish rather than red meat and fresh fruits and vegetables.

  6. Ensuring your community follows a healthy eating plan is a good way of reducing NCDs. To achieve this, you can plan a SALT visit to study the different types of foods that are found and eaten in your community. After this, you can work with the community to prepare different dishes at a cheaper price. An important thing would be to continue monitoring the blood pressure and blood sugar of community members every month.

Learn how this Cluster in Malawi is driving economic development in the community through farming legumes. 


bottom of page