At present, about 67% of deaths in Bangladesh are due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. If all these diseases are not prevented, the overall progress of the country will be hampered. Those outside the health sector must also take responsibility for controlling non-communicable diseases. In this case, the role of local government is the most.
This opinion was expressed in a webinar on “Role of Public Health professional in promoting a healthy diet and physical activity organized by Bangladesh Cancer Society, Center for Law and Policy Affairs-CLPA, Citizen Network on Friday, February 1, 2022 at 9 pm, Twenty-five (25) participants (19 M, 6 F) attended the event. The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Dr. Golam Mohiuddin Farooq, Project Director, of the Cancer Society. The Paper was presented by Prof. AFM Sarwar, Research Consultant, Center for Law and Policy Affairs.
Md. Aminul Islam Program Advisor CLPA delivered the welcome speech of the webinar on the Role of Public Health professionals in promoting a healthy diet and physical activity held on 01-02-2022. He greeted everyone and started the program with everyone’s identity.
In his keynote address, Professor Sarwar said that research on existing non-communicable disease control laws has shown that there are about 16 laws in the country to ensure playgrounds and open spaces. In addition, there are 6 laws related to unhealthy food control and 30 more laws of 11 ministries to ensure healthy fresh food. He discussed whether a law is needed to implement an activity or awareness. He introduced his presentation with a story from Japan (Pin Pin Korori) where he talked about the city of Nagana in Japan and how the people of Japan are infected with non-communicable diseases and how they developed a coping strategy to protect the disease. He presented various issues related to law and awareness, adding that no matter how much people are aware, it is not possible to implement it without proper guidelines, policies, or laws. We can understand through his speech the importance and role of law in implementing a healthy diet and physical activity process.
Professor Dr. Sohail Reza Chowdhury, of the National Heart Foundation: Those outside the health sector need to take responsibility for controlling non-communicable diseases. Local government has the most important role to play in controlling non-communicable diseases.
Nusrat Jahan, Deputy Director, National Nutrition Council: There is a shortage of iodized food in Bangladesh. We can encourage nutrition in schools. We can also work on malnutrition.
Helen Keller International’s Head of Department, Health, and Nutrition, Dr. Afsana Habib Shiuli: We are enthusiastic about eating a wide variety of healthful foods. Bangladesh is the third largest producer of vegetables. Yet the reason we are malnourished is that we have not been able to encourage healthy and varied diets. Many are selling all the products they produce and not keeping them for their families. We are encouraging home-grown food production. We are encouraging them to produce food all year round through backyard meetings. We need to be enthusiastic about urban agriculture. Policymakers need to be made aware by researching the benefits of urban agriculture. Weight is causing many non-communicable diseases. Adolescents need to be involved in food production through urban agriculture. Participate in Health Education Sessions. Training can be given on how to make healthy food. The marketing of unhealthy food should be stopped. Ensure healthy food marketing in schools.
Associate Professor at BSMMU’s Department of Public Health, Dr. Atiqul Haque: Vegetable consumption begins in adolescence. According to studies, city youngsters do not consume the vegetables suggested by the World Health Organization. Adolescents were found to have hypertension in our study. We don’t have enough information about how to eat healthily. We need to enact legislation to raise public awareness about the importance of eating nutritious foods.
Professor Dr. Syed Morshed Maula, Dhaka Community Medical College Moghbazar’s Head of Dental Unit: Our country has proper laws, and we must be aware of them through all educational institutions. We don’t have a gynecologist at our school, and no one can advise us on proper dietary habits. Unhealthy food and junk food are wreaking havoc on our health. There are plenty of veggies in our country, but they are squandered. We must boost our level of physical activity. If we increase our physical activity, our hearts will function better and we will reap a variety of benefits.
Humayun Kabir: It is important to give importance to the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Extensive awareness and publicity about this work are urgent. We have to meet with people of all classes and professions and take action plans. Gymnasiums should be available in schools.
Bangladesh Society of Radiation Oncologies Treasurer, Dr. Mohammad Saeed Sosain: This is a multisectoral subject. A nationwide workshop on this topic is necessary. We will present our proposals to these ministries. It is necessary to find out the problems of the existing law and bring it to the notice of the concerned. It is possible to control non-communicable diseases by taking these initiatives. Many issues can be solved by creating a sports environment at school.
Dr. Shravra Debnath, Medical Officer, National Cancer Research Institute and Hospital: We are constantly facing challenges with cancer. We are discussing the treatment of the disease. We are not able to give any advice to the patients regarding nutrition. I can’t advise people about healthy diets and physical activity. The government should provide advice on a healthy diet and physical activity. Exercise should be arranged at school 5 days a week. We have different laws in our country, but there is no law enforcement.
Dr. Mohammad Abdullah-al-Noman, Residence Surgeon, National Cancer Research Institute and Hospital: Government officials do not have an annual physical condition report. Whether BMI can be added to all these reports. It is also important to confirm the matter privately.
Dr. Mohammad Abdullah-al-Noman, Residence Surgeon, National Cancer Research Institute and Hospital: Is it possible to include BMI in all government officials’ annual physical reports? We’ll need to confirm the situation in private as well. It is necessary to conduct local research. It is critical to allocate funds for the promotion of cancer-free meals. To stop the distribution of imported food, legal action must be taken. Physical activity and swimming should be made mandatory in all schools, and numbers on physical activity should be added.
Dr.Shamim : The Health Education Act needs to be made more widely known. In the city, many people are aware of the need of eating a healthy diet. It’s necessary to explain how indoor physical activity in the city can make everyone more conscious. In the village, we must ensure that we can keep a healthy diet. Consumption of unhealthy foods must be tightly regulated.
Dhaka Medical College’s Department of Radiotherapy’s Professor Alia Shahnewaz says: Our school doesn’t have a playground. Then there’s no place for us to work out. Is physical education taught in schools? Whether or not it is observed, unhealthy food is offered in the school cafeteria.
In his closing remarks, Aminul Islam, Program Advisor, CLPA, said that local government has an important role to coordinate among the implementing agencies in Public health law and policy along with the infrastructural development, various organizations besides the government have to come forward to make the people aware. It will be possible to implement by controlling non-communicable diseases through the united efforts of all.