Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has implored all Ugandans cutting across all age groups to accustom their bodies to physical fitness through regular exercises in order to shade off unnecessary body fat. He said that the practice helps in keeping the body healthy and prolongs one’s life span.
“I have been called here to show you that this country has moved a step ahead in health sector. For the first time, many people no longer die of immunizable diseases. Instead, people die more from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs),” he said.
The President made the remarks while launching the National Day for Physical Activities at the National Independence Ceremonial Grounds in Kololo in Kampala. The theme of the event was ‘My Health is My Responsibility.’ The event is going to be annual on every 8th of July.
This year’s inaugural events were characterized by various exhibitions by numerous organizations depicting items meant to sensitise people to take care and lead healthy lifestyles augmented by good eating habits, accessing nutritious food items, and physiotherapy equipment, among others.
President Museveni expressed happiness with the launching of the national physical fitness campaign saying that people who do not want to die of unnecessary ailments had today come to a free hospital through the exercise of walking.
“To-date, many people die of NCDs more than infectious diseases. 40% people die of non-communicable diseases; 13% die of accidents as these free non-potholed good roads I made for you are going to finish you people; 9% die of heart related diseases, 5% die of cancers and 3% die of other diseases including sickles cells,” he said.
The President further informed the people of Uganda that polio and measles are no longer killer diseases in the country adding that even the 9% of malaria fever threat has to be dealt with. He, therefore, urged the medical professionals in the country to sensitise the public more about other killer diseases.
He noted that Non-Communicable Diseases are killing the biggest number of people in Uganda yet they are easy to stop. He elaborated that Non-Communicable Diseases are caused by consumption of too much food, lack of doing exercises and hence cause heart diseases, cancer and diabetes. “Too much eating and no exercise, is why were here today,” he said.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Sarah Opendi, revealed that her Ministry, along with other line Ministries, will ensure that the people of Uganda are encouraged to embrace physical fitness exercise activities on a daily. She said that her Ministry will also install equipment for physical exercises in the Capital City of Kampala and provide physical fitness reading materials as well.
During the sensitisation session regarding a consortium for prevention and control of NCDs in Uganda, Dr. John Omagino of the Uganda Heart Institute explained that once food enters one’s body it has to get out by way of doing exercise.
“Any obstruction leads to heart diseases because of fats and toxins”, he said.
Dr. David Basangwa told the people about mental health stressing the need to embrace physical exercises so as to balance chemicals in the body and enable the brain and the body to coordinate. Dr. Ivan Kisuule cautioned people about active and passive smoking of tobacco as one of the causes of breathing difficulties while Dr. Gerald Mutungi challenged the people to appreciate the fact that one does not require money to do an exercise.
Later, President Museveni appended his signature to the fight against NCDs campaign launch as a commitment to be physically active to stop NCDs in the country and expressed strong hope that the launch would awaken Ugandans.
As Chief walker, the President flagged off the mass walk involving all categories of people. The walk covered 10.5 kilometers from Kololo through Lugogo by-pass, Jinja and Kampala Roads up to Kampala Sheraton Hotel, the Golf Course, Babiiha Avenue (Acacia) and back to Kololo grounds.
At the completion of the walk, President Museveni congratulated all the participants for the exercise and determination not to take excess food and become inactive. He also thanked the Uganda Police Band for making the walk enjoyable with the parade and entertainment with different instrumental tunes.