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As part of the process towards formulating a strong and accommodating policy on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) for Ghana, members of the Ghana Non-Communicable Disease Alliance (GhNCDA), and the Non-Communicable Diseases Program Secretariat of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have held a joint stakeholder meeting to consider suggestions into the draft National NCD Policy.
The meeting was aimed at briefing members of the alliance on the need for the policy and to collate views from participants most of whom are advocates and Persons Leaving with NCDS (PLWNCDs). The move is to ensure that the real concerns of all stakeholders are captured in the final document which is currently under preparation.
Participants took advantage of the meeting to advocate for the government to adopt the Ghana Advocacy Agenda of PLWNCDs for a better understanding of the challenges that carriers of NCDs in the country face on regular basis.
According to them, the said Agenda has a lot of their concerns that when implemented effectively would enable PLWNCDs have some respite. It also has some good recommendations for the government and its implementing agencies.
Persons Living with NCDs in Ghana also emphasized the urgent need for the government to prioritize the formulation of the Policy under review so as to guarantee the meaningful involvement of PLWNCDS in the implementation.
The Programs Manager for the Ghana Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance, Labram Massawudu Musa, acknowledged the important role PLWNCDs and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play in the area of advocacy for better policies for the control of NCDs in Ghana and across the world. He expressed satisfaction at the collaboration between the National NCDs Program Secretariat and civil society organizations such as members of the Alliance.
He advised the NCD Program to make regular references to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in the consideration process for the National Policy as it will ensure that the tobacco industry and other industries such as Big Alcohol, Big Food and others are prevented from making inputs because they stand a chance of manipulating the process to their advantage.
“Meaningful engagement of people living with NCDs should be recognized, and ideally concrete steps must be institutionalized to the role of PLWNCDs in Steering Committee,” labram stated.
He urged the Secretariat to consider synergies between NCDs and other Global Health priorities such as Tuberculosis (TB), Malaria, HIV, MNCH, for prevention, screening and treatment opportunities.
He asked for a comprehensive health literacy to be included in the policy doe the empowerment of individuals and the promotion of health literacy and education among populations to enhance the prevention, control and management of NCDs and their risk factors.
He proposed that the policy should be made to all NCDs under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) instead of the current situation where only Cancer is prioritized.
“Traditional or Alternative medicines should also be prioritized, they need to be regulated because Ghanaian’s will definitely resort to herbal medicine for treatment. They have a council which means they have been recognized by the state,” he stated.
The NCDs Programme Manager for the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Dennis Laryea, took the meeting through the relevance of the proposed NCDs policy for Ghana.
NCDs are diseases that are not transmissible from one person to another – meaning it cannot be passed on from one person to another. NCDs are typically of long duration and progress slowly. NCDs are the leading cause of disability worldwide, killing about 41 million people each year.
Common NCDs include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and mental health disorders among others.
Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson || Ghananewsonline.com.gh