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Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has emphasized the need for stronger collaborations between Persons Living with Non-Communicable Diseases (PLWNCD) and stakeholders in the health sector for the attainment of objectives outlined in Ghana’s NCD policy.
He said this in a Keynote address delivered on his behalf at the commencement of a two-day seminar on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Accra being put together by the Ghana Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (GhNCDA). It is under the sponsorship of the NCD Alliance and the Norweiguan Cancer Society (NCS).
He said it is time society takes a holistic view of the NCD situation with its accompanying burdens including associated costs and restrictions to PLWNCDs.
He diseases such as diabetes and hypertension account for a significant proportion of Out Patient Department (OPD) attendance, admissions and deaths in most hospitals, and that, stroke for example as a common complication of hypertension and diabetes is among the leading causes of deaths in Ghana.
The two-day programmed has been themed “Ensuring a People-Centered Approach to Ghana’s NCD Response”. Participants were selected from among the various stakeholders in NCD, among them are governmental agencies; Non-Governmental Agencies and Associations of PLWNCDs.
Latest statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that NCDs are responsible for about 94,400 deaths in Ghana in 2016: constituting 43% of all deaths. There is growing burden of NCDs including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and hypertension, calling for accelerated action to tackle NCDs in the country.
Dr. Beatrice Wiafe, the Chairperson of the Ghana Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance, who welcomed participants and guests to the event urged the media and opinion leaders to assist in educating the society in living a healthy lifestyle so as to avoid the burden of NCDs on the society.
She reiterated the fact that close to 50 percent of all deaths in Ghana are linked to Non-Communicable Diseases in one way or the other. She therefore called on government to support the Ghana NCD Alliance to coordinate the activities of the various stakeholders under the alliance.
She made a strong point for people living with NCDs to be considered in national decision making processes especially those that concerns them as patients.
Labram Musah, the National Coordinator of Ghana NCD Alliance, in a presentation of the results of an online consultation to gather the thoughts, ideas and perspectives of people living with NCDs in Ghana, expressed the concern that PLWNCDs were mostly within the productive group of between the ages of 30 to 50 years.