Preventing and Controlling NCDs: Ghana needs to do more

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Though Ghana has done a lot towards achieving the Goal of controlling and preventing Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), much more efforts are needed to scale up the interventions to achieve goal three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG3). The goal tackles Good Health and Well-being to reduce the burden of NCDs by 30% by the year 2030. This is according to the Head of Disease Control and Prevention Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Dr. Kyei-Faried.

He said in terms of Regulatory and Legislative Policies, an Alcohol Policy has been developed and measures put in place to check drink-driving. Also, there has been education on health, social and economic consequences of alcohol misuse, among others. These steps he however stated are not enough to the target.

He said the Ministry of Health (MoH) and its stakeholders are currently advocating for the issuance of administrative orders to ban alcohol industry sponsorship of sporting, music and other entertainment events in Ghana, as well as to regulate the labelling and warning on alcohol products, while enforce existing laws on sale and purchase of alcoholic products to and by minors, advocate for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ban advertisement of alcohol at any time that is likely to be viewed by young people.

Dr. Kyei Farried was speaking at a recently held National High Level Meeting on NCDs in Accra. It was organized by the Ghana NCD Alliance with support from the Framework Convention Alliance, Norwegian Cancer Society and NCD Alliance.

The National Coordinator of the Ghana NCD Alliance, Labram Masawudu Musah, said though some NCDs cannot be avoided, much of the global NCD burden can be prevented by addressing the four main modifiable risk factors of tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol and making the places we live in ones that promote health.

He called for a national investment in NCD prevention and control as it will not only improve health and save lives but will improve the country’s economic productivity as well.

“We need to improve workforce participation and productivity, limit the financial burden of unexpected health costs from NCDs on individuals and families, investment is particularly important in low- and lower-middle-income countries, where the NCD burden continues to rise, and health systems are less resilient,” he stated.

The Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Implementation of SDGs in Ghana, Prof. George Gyan Baffour, who is also the Minister for Planning, said chronic NCDs including hypertension, diabetes and cancers are not only public health problems but also developmental challenges that have major social and financial implications on the affected individuals, as well as the society and the government.

“The rising prevalence of NCDs in the country in the last few decades, coupled with rapid urbanization of the country to changing vitals, including poor diet and the relatively weak health systems, make confronting NCDs a multifaceted challenge,” he stated.

He assured the gathering that the outcome of the meeting would be documented to inform the policy direction of the country on NCDs moving forward.

The Ghana NCD Alliance is a network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with the mission of becoming a leading organization contributing to reducing NCD related deaths and disabilities through health promotion, proper coordination, health system strengthening and improving the quality of lives of people living with NCDs in Ghana.

Its formation was necessitated by the rising health burden associated with NCDs in Ghana and the world over. NCDs are the leading causes of deaths and disabilities responsible for about 39.5 million deaths annually.

The National High Level Meeting on NCDs was aimed at exposing the challenges and progress that Ghana is making to address the NCD burden. It was an avenue for the identification of specific set of priorities within the overall NCD agenda with a view to implementing effective national responses for the prevention and control of NCDs, including achieving universal health coverage.

The World Health Organization (WHO)’s 2017 NCDs Progress Monitor, estimates that, in Ghana NCDs are responsible for about 101,000 deaths. NCDs are the leading causes of deaths and disabilities, and responsible for 39.5 million deaths annually. It accounts for nearly 2/3 of all global deaths and the poorest and most vulnerable populations are the hardest hit.

Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson || ghananewsonline.com.gh

 

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