Everyday you make choices about your life and your health that can make you stronger, if you choose wisely. Often you can decide what you eat, how much you eat, how physically active you are and if you smoke or drink alcohol,” says the voice of actress Lillian Dube, booming out of a book.
“Being overweight increases your risk for illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, your body needs the right foods to work properly,” Dube tells us.
The speaking book that bears Dube’s voice was recently launched by the Department of Health in partnership with the International Council of Nurses (ICN), Pfizer and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. It is the first speaking book helping people to avoid non-communicable diseases (NCD).
Aimed at intensifying the fight against NCDs like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, the book highlights the importance of health literacy and the safe use of medicines. According to the World Health Organisation, about 25 per cent of all deaths in South Africa are related to NCDs.
The book is titled “Growing Your Health”
and uses voice clips narrated by Dube, who is a breast cancer survivor. It provides 16 pages of information about various diseases and explains the importance of healthy eating, healthy lifestyle choices and tobacco abstinence in preventing NCDs. It also speaks some home truths.
“Remember physical activity, good food, alcohol in moderation and no tobacco is a good way to prevent disease in you and the people you love. Like a tree, health and wellness can grow,” Dube says.
Vice-President of Pfizer Dr Jack Watters notes that much attention has been given to infectious diseases with NCDs being given the back seat.
“NCDs have been overshadowed by the focus on infectious diseases, but continuing to ignore this subject can result in a health catastrophe,” he warns.
The speaking books will help people take control of their health and simultaneously overcome the challenge of low literacy, Watters adds.
“Just because someone cannot read, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve access to this vital information,” he points out.
The book is part of a larger effort by ICN and Pfizer to support the nursing profession by providing information and new tools that encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles.