By ANNIE ZULU

 THE Ministry of Health has launched the first-ever mobile survey on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) using mobile phone technology.

Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said the survey would elicit responses from the general public on risk factors that predisposed citizens to NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.

He explained that the development arose out of the Ministry’s need to understand the factors on the causes of NCDs.

He noted that about 24percent of deaths in Zambia were caused by NCDs and that the burden and mortality from the same was likely to rise.

The Minister was speaking to Journalists at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday.

“In line with the directive given by President Edgar Lungu to implement e-Governance and Smart Zambia, the Ministry of Health is now ready to carry out this important survey. We would like to ensure that we prevent NCDs in our communities by knowing which risk factors are prevalent,” Dr Chilufya said.

He also said mobile phone surveys could serve as an efficient and cost effective tool to rapidly collect data.

Dr Chilufya said that infrastructure to carry out the survey had been set up by his Ministry with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative among other partners.

“The information obtained from this survey would help the Ministry to plan for the national response to NCD control in order to reduce premature mortality by the year 2030.

“For Zambia to effectively respond to the burden of NCDs, my Ministry is committed to implementing the mobile phone survey to generate data to inform and support the planning and implementation of health programs to prevent and control NCDs in Zambia,” he said.

He further said the pilot testing for the survey would be conducted countrywide from the May 27-31.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya said government would strengthen the country’s health system in response to the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He also said government would allocate more funds to public health institutions to support disease surveillance activities.

The Minister said this yesterday when the World Health Organisation (WHO) donated personal protective equipment in the wake of Ebola outbreak.

And WHO officer in charge Katepa Bwalya said the donation was aimed at supporting the Ministry to deliver efficient and timely health care.

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