By Fred Kiva
KAMPALA. President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday morning took part in the 8 kilometre walk around Kampala City as he launched the Ministry of Health National Day of Physical Activity, that seeks to encourage Ugandans to fight non communicable diseases through exercises.
The President led hundreds of people on the walk from Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, Jinja road, Kampala Road, Mulago,Golf Course and then back to the starting point where he had, before the walk stressed the importance of the day.
In his address before the walk,the President encouraged Ugandans to exercise a lot in order to avoid Non-Communicable Diseases such as those that attack important body organs like the heart and the kidney.
"Today we are here to launch the Campaign for exercise,even if you eat, do exercise," the President said, warning that eating too much without exercises makes Ugandans more susceptible to non communicable diseases like diabetes and cancer.
"40 percent of the people who die in Uganda die of non communicable diseases; accidents 13 percent, heart diseases 9 percent, cancer 5 percent, diabetes 3 percent (and) Others 10 percent," Museveni said.
He noted that due to programs like immunization,the country had eliminated infectious diseases such as polio, measles and small pox,but the challenge remains non-communicable diseases,which he says are easy to stop.
"Because of immunization those diseases have been stopped.There is no more polio and measles.For the first time people are not dieying of infectious diseases," the President observed.
Health Minister Ruth Acheng said the National Day of Physical Activity is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of physical activity to beat non communicable diseases (NCDs) and live healthy.
The Minister said the NCD risk factor survey (2014) showed huge physical inactivity in the urban population where 8 per cent of the adults were considered inactive compared to 3.5 per cent among the rural population.
"What we need to do is physical exercise. Atleast spare 30 minutes every day to do exercises,to burn out what we eat and drink," the Minister emphasized.
Acheng revealed that every 2nd Sunday of July every year has been gazzeted for national physical activity, where individuals, companies and organizations will be required to set aside time for physical exercise.
Other activities during the launch were; aerobics, a run around the Kololo Airstrip among others. It was under the theme, ‘Be Physically Active, Be healthy.’