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Our Health is Wealth Fellow shares on promoting physical activity in order to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases among patients seen at the Federal Teaching Hospital Ido-Ekiti, Nigeria

Promotion of Physical activity (PA) is a neglected dimension of prevention and intervention especially in low-income and middle-income countries. According to the Lancet Physical Activity series, 2012, it causes between 6-10% of major non-communicable diseases worldwide. In Nigeria studies have put the physical inactivity level of adult Nigerians between 25-57% and in children PA levels have been graded to be between 41% - 60%.

The Health is Wealth Competition of the Engage Africa Foundation has provided an avenue for me to contribute my quota on how to reduce non-communicable diseases in my community through the scaling up and building of capacity of fellow junior doctors through the use of mobile technology. 

The setting of this project is that of the Federal Teaching Hospital (Formerly called Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Ido-Ekiti, a Tertiary Health Centre in a rural area of Ekiti State Nigeria. The hospital is opened to patients from all the 16 Local Governments in the state and beyond. The hospital’s junior doctors comprises of about 230 resident doctors and 60 House-officers who offer their services in various departments (Internal Medicine, Surgery, Family Medicine, Community Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Psychiatry, Paediatrics and Radiology). Services offered include but are not limited to out-patient clinic consultations, ward rounds and rural outreaches.

I intend to leverage on the fact that all doctors possess and make use of a mobile telephone. Bulk short messaging service (sms) (via mobile telephones) will be utilized on a daily basis for a specified period to remind and encourage resident doctors and interns to incorporate the recording of PA status of patients as a vital sign as well as to educate and promote an increase in physical activity during all their consultations with patients and clients on a daily basis in the aforementioned departments. Using these avenues by the doctors will go a long way in improving the health of the public.

My subsequent blogs on the Engage Africa Foundation website will outline the steps taken and the results obtained. It promises to be challenging. But we all know health is wealth, and it is worth fighting for.

Damilola A Alawode is an Engage Africa Foundation Health is Wealth Fellow and Public Health Physician. He is a Senior Registrar of the Community Medicine Department of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti, Nigeria. He is also a MSc student of the Sports and Exercise Medicine Department of the University of Bath, United kingdom.

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