KAMPALA —Medical personnel often urge us to conduct routine medical examinations as a way of ensuring that our bodies are in a good health state.
However, most of us rarely go for these checkups unless we notice a change in our bodies.
According to a 2019 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are the leading cause of mortality in the world, killing 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
Each year, more than 15 million people die from NCDs between the ages of 30 and 69 years; 85% of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.3 million), respiratory diseases (4.1 million), and diabetes (1.5 million). These four groups of diseases account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths.
WHO figures rank Cardiovascular diseases as having highest the highest death rates compared to other non-communicable diseases; an indication that keen attention and efforts need to be made if this rate is to be lowered.
In 2018, Prudential launched its health business Prudential Health Business, PRUMed, our champion group medical scheme that is tailor-made to meet people’s health needs.
The uptake of this product exposed us to the magnitude of the prevalence of non-communicable diseases among a huge fraction of the users of our PRUMed service. This prompted us to carry out a national heart survey to further help us understand how entrenched non-communicable diseases are in the wider population of Ugandans.
This originated the Omutima Gwo campaign, aimed at creating awareness about prevention of heart related diseases. The campaign since its inception runs heart health tips in partnership with Ministry of Health, Uganda Heart Institute, International Medical Centre, Radio One, Akaboozi, Capital FM and NBS TV.
This campaign has now turned into an annual activity which also includes a heart camp, this enables thousands of Ugandans to get free tests and receive qualified advice from Cardiologists and Nutritionists, free ECG and ECO.
The Prudential Heart Camp has had two editions so far, 2018 & 2019, with well over 5000 people getting the rare opportunity to have free heart health check-ups.
Out of the abundance of caution considering the Covid-19 SOPs, Prudential did not hold the heart camp in 2020.
We, however, ensured that we worked with more media partners to reach more people and a Dr. Kasenene, an influential nutritional and wellness doctor with large online following to increase the number of people that received Omutima Gwo message.
The initiative has been greatly rewarding as we have reached out to over 12 million people across the country, proving free medical checkups and we have continued to sensitize The masses about the preventative measures on NCDs among other ailments through our team of expert and in partnership with key medical institutions like the Uganda Heart Institute.
Today, the advancement in technology has made it possible for individuals to conduct self-medical tests if they have the guidance from medical experts on how to operate the equipment’s, with the right prescriptions. Individuals can now download fitness and personal health applications on their smartphones.
In addition, there are numerous authorized online platforms that offer real time tips on how one can check for low and high blood pressure, sugar levels, among many other conditions that might affect one’s health state.
Medica checkups are vital, and we should conduct these religiously. We invite you to take advantage of the free heart health check-ups we are providing this year in partnership with IMC. These are being provided at the IMC clinics at IDC, Kololo, Wandegeya, Namirembe Rd, Entebbe Rd, Mukono, Gulu and Mbale.
Chief Health Officer