The Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, said at the ongoing 66th session of the General Assembly of the World Health Organisation, that regular checkups would enable Nigeria to help address the issue of non-communicable diseases.
He said the Federal Government had begun the fight against obesity, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan would inaugurate the campaign against the condition.
“The president is also going to lead the fight against obesity; he has approved in writing that he will flag off the Federal Ministry of Health campaign, which is on NCDs.
“He will publicly demostrate to the Nigerian public that there is need for a checkup, for your weight to be measured, your height to be taken and your BMI (body max index) calculated and then other test in terms of screening for stroke and cardiovascular disease.
“In our budget this year we also have funds to begin to subsidise the cost of such tests for Nigerians; I will say we have started the journey.
“Ultimately as you know, health remains in the hands of the individual; but it is our responsibility to give the right information evidence-based“
Chukwu said enlightenment campaign against obesity and the consumption of unhealthy foods would be done to discourage people from patronising food products that were harmful to health.
The minister, who said that the government would strive to scale up intervention on nutrition, gave the assurance that government would continue with its food fortification programme.
Dr Margaret Chan, the Director-General, World Health Organisation, who spoke at the event, said no one single country had succeeded in turning around its obesity epidemic in all age groups.
“Just this one example makes us reflect on the importance of adopting the right policy options.”
Chan recalled that the UN political declaration on NCDs clearly provided that prevention must be the cornerstone of global response.