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  • Writer's pictureAmarjit Dass

Noncommunicable Diseases, the silent diseases

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) encompass a wide range of health conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, mental health disorders, dementia, and chronic respiratory diseases. These chronic illnesses are increasingly prevalent worldwide and pose significant health concerns in all countries.

While some NCDs are preventable, certain factors like genetics and environment are beyond individual control. Many NCDs are often referred to as "silent diseases" since symptoms may remain undetected for years, unlike infectious diseases that manifest more visibly. These conditions typically result from years of unhealthy lifestyles and prolonged exposure to stress. Regrettably, once NCDs reach an advanced stage, they become irreversible and untreatable.

Individuals who lead demanding lives and focus on survival often neglect their own health. Long working hours and caregiving responsibilities can take precedence over personal well-being, making it challenging for them to prioritize their health. Meeting basic needs like shelter and food for themselves and their families becomes the primary focus.

Raising awareness about the significance of health prevention is crucial, especially among those with limited knowledge about NCDs. For many, chronic diseases can lead to an overwhelming burden, particularly for individuals already striving to make ends meet. The consequences of these conditions can result in disability or long-lasting health impairments that hinder their ability to work and earn a livelihood.

Unfortunately, those who are financially disadvantaged may not have the means to afford healthcare or have easy access to local medical facilities. Consequently, prevention plays a crucial role in reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases.

In this regard, Community Health Workers, sometimes known as health navigators, prove invaluable in educating communities about health prevention. Utilizing non-formal education methods can effectively reach marginalized, low-socioeconomic, and illiterate populations, empowering them with essential knowledge about preventive measures. By emphasizing prevention and early intervention, we can work towards reducing the impact of non-communicable diseases on vulnerable communities.

A community health worker is an esteemed member of the community, serving as a crucial liaison between individuals and services to enhance the overall health of family, friends, and neighbors. Establishing effective connections between vulnerable populations and the healthcare system can be a daunting task in numerous areas. Over the past two decades, hospitals, clinics, and governments have collaborated with community health workers to bridge the divide between community members and healthcare service providers. These workers fulfill a significant role by disseminating essential information to community members regarding updates on diseases, campaigns, and educating them on lifestyle changes to prevent and manage health conditions. Moreover, community health workers collaborate closely with medical staff, researchers, and government officials, relaying valuable information from their communities and offering insights into community needs and well-being.

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