Senior Ministry of Health officials and health experts have warned an increase in non-communicable diseases is posing a threat to public health and the nation’s development.
The four main types of non-communicable disease are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.
With limited effective prevention, the estimated death rate from non-communicable diseases is currently about 56 percent, or approximately half of all deaths in the country every year.
Speaking at a UN meeting on the issue in Phnom Penh yesterday, Health Minister Mam Bun Heng said the government had put together a national action plan to prevent and fight against non-communicable diseases until 2026 in response to an increase in cases.
He said non-communicable diseases were predicted to rise further due to changing lifestyles and environments in the country.
“Non-communicable diseases are chronic diseases causing disability, loss of labour, increased poverty and massive spending on the national economy,” he said.
“People should not smoke or drink too much alcohol. They also shouldn’t eat too much salt, sugar and cholesterol and should exercise. By doing all that, we can reduce our death rates up to 80 percent.”
Mom Kong, executive director of the Cambodian Movement for Health, said non-communicable diseases were largely caused by four risk factors: tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.
He added that the Cambodian death rate from non-communicable diseases of 56 percent was higher than the world average of 44 percent.
World Health Organisation representative to Cambodia Liu Yunguo said the death toll of non-communicable diseases for those under the age of 70 had increased remarkably over the last few years, and the rate may continue to rise if there is no effective control and prevention. “The fact that we cannot control non-communicable diseases can be a threat to our health, hinder social development, and damage the economy,” he said.
United Nations Development Programme representative Claire Van der Vaeren urged the government and partners to show commitment to address challenges relating to non-communicable diseases through its joint action plan, national policies and efforts to strengthen preventive measures.