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And we thought HIV/AIDS would be the death of us

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“I think there is too much concentration on fighting HIV, AIDS and other diseases like cholera, so we want to restore the balance,” said Dr Stamps. The former health minister/Health Advisor in the Office of the President and Cabinet, said this at the Non-Communicable Diseases Conference held from 15th – 16th of this month.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), respiratory diseases, diabetes, cancers and cardiovascular diseases (including high blood pressure) account for 80% of deaths from non-communicable diseases, and are perpetuated by things like tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and poor diets.

Even though it seems that AIDS poses the biggest threat to our health, these “silent killers”, which are so often neglected, and are very much a ‘normal’ part of many Zimbabweans’ lives (especially diabetes and high blood pressure), are the greatest killer disease in the world. In Zimbabwe, 21% of deaths in 2010 can be attributed to such disease, according to WHO Non-communicable disease country profiles 2011. In the light of such scary statistics, does HIV and AIDS seem like such a big deal now? Let’s restore the balance in the focus of our healthcare systems, as Dr Stamps has so rightly suggested.

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