Muhammad Daniyal     Special Correspondent  Daily Relation Times     Health is a fundamental human right. Every government around the world makes policies to ensure Public health better and sound. Nowadays, major part of health sector has been overwhelmed by non-communicable diseases. Along with national government, our civil society organizations are playing head-to-head role in these noble services. PANAH is one of the leading organisations which has been extensively dealing with heart-related health diseases since last forty years. It primarily expounds upon the causes, effects and required measures that are essential to control the everincreasing non-communicable illnesses. In this regards, PANAH organised a media and civil society session entitled as “ Reducing non-communicable diseases” yesterday in Islamabad. Policymakers, Health specialists, Media persons and civil society members attended the conference. PANAH stands for Pakistan National Association of Heart, is operating in multiple countries. It has been expanding its services in more countries as time is passing. Recently, they began operations in Afghanistan and Turkiye. Since Cardio-vascular diseases have been growing at very fast pace across the world. As humankind has shifted to an advanced lifestyle which lacks Physical activities, healthy diet patterns, pure water and edibles and so on. Moreover, modernism has brought with it other cancerous items which could not be overlooked by the new generation. Corporate media played its full part to make it high trending. Whether it be an carbonated drink or cigarette brand, these all stakeholders in our society remained silent spectators while these killing products had deeply entrenched in our economies. From policymakers to Businessmen, educationists to religious scholars, even every social stakeholder has a direct role in controlling the menace of noncommunicable diseases.
With his opening speech, General secretary PANAH highlighted the major causes of heart-related
diseases. He pinpointed that the overuse of sugary drinks and Tobacco in our society has soared the
rate of heart-related sufferings. These are Obesity, Diabetes, B.P, Strokes etc. According to the
recent reseach studies, about 550 people are died off due to the abusive use of tobacco. As it has
become a fashion, and about 1200 children begins smoking tobacco on daily-basis. He also
mentioned that his organisation mainly deals with the drug abuse and overconsumption of sugary
drinks. Owing to these two factors, obesity has doubled in last years and diabetes increased 35% as
studies found. He also pledged to the government to work collaboratively to overcome the issue. As
policymakers can effectively tackle issue and spread awareness among general public. Rules and
regulations in any society can be enforced through parliamentary platforms more comprehensively.
Following him, an health specialist from Global Health Advocacy shed light upon the issue through
slides via online. He presented a large number of facts and research statistics about the noncommunicable diseases and its spectres. He told that about 32m people are annually suffered from
non-communicable diseases. The primary spectres of Cardio-vascular diseases are B.P, Diabetes,
Breathing, strokes etc which have increased 80% in recent times. Mostly poor and developing
nations are on frontline. As far as Pakistan is concerned, he informed the audience that every 3 out
of 10 are died off heart disease, 4 out of 10 by Obesity particularly. Studies show that obesity has
doubled in children as 2018 survey of PANAH.

Diabetes in Pakistan is at worse as 33m people annually diagnosed as diabetic, and our country is
third in world. Since 1100 people per day die off by diabetes, that is first in death rate globally.
Mr Munawar also highlighted the reasons for this menace. The very first is the diet including transfatty acid, free sugar, sodium etc. Sugary drinks consists of free sugar in higher content. There is also
a less consumption of fruits and vegetables in our diet pattern. Moreover, non-sugar sweetners are
equally harmful. According to WHO, a female requires 25g and male 35g sugar per day. But
unfortunately, our diet pattern especially the overuse of sugary drinks are contained of much higher
levels of sugar. This results into obesity, heart attacks diabetes and other cardio-vascular issues.
These diseases have a high cost when it comes to their treatment. According to PIDE, only obesity
cost about $2640m annually. All in all, there is also a huge environmental cost of sugary foods such
as plastic pollution.

Lastly, he presented certain recommendations to reduce the high impact of non-communicable
diseases. These are; restrictions on tobacco advertisement, Public awareness, regulation of sugary
drinks in educational institutions, tax hikes over these products and so on.
He emphasized the tax policy and added that these have been practised in Gulf countries with high
success ratio. The government of Pakistan also should also increase the excise tax on sugary drinks,
tobacco etc. These revenue in turn may ne utilise in public health. Policymakers have a big role in
public awareness, ensuring availability of subsidized non-sugary staples such as vegetables, fruits
etc.

Finally, the chief guest of the seminar shared her remarks about the topic and ensured her
collaboration in the prevention of heart-diseases in Pakistan. The SAPM on Human Rights and
Women Empowerment, Mushal Malik, said that women has the major role in this regard as a
mother takes care of diet of her family. She furthers said that our lifestyle and dietary patterns are
the major causes of these diseases. Sugar is a white poison and a silent killer. We should be very
careful in our daily diet and do physical exercises daily. She ensured the members of PANAH her
utmost support in channelizing their message to health committee.

The seminar ended with a delicious dinner along with certain interview recordings with the
executive members of PANAH.

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