A Non-Governmental Organization, Ghana Non-Communicable Disease Alliance, Ghana NCD Alliance is worried about the upsurge of alcoholism and excessive smoking among Ghanaians especially the youth.
Speaking at the official Launch of the Alliance in Accra, the Vice Chairman, Adams Ebenezer, said, the upsurge and abusive usage of these harmful products could be put at the door steps of some media houses, as they advertise all kinds of alcoholic beverages without recourse to its repercussions on the country.
He noted that, “the recent upsurge of alcohol advertisement on TV and Radio and billboards are all means of targeting our kids to become smokers or alcoholics when they grow. Same can be said about the increasing opening of spots in almost every corner of Ghana selling alcoholic beverages.”
According to him, the big fast food companies which are expanding to all parts of the country exposing the population to unhealthy junk foods leading to overweight among children, should be checked by the authorities, stressing further that, “parents nowadays will resort to these fast food joints posing lots of health challenges to themselves and their children“.
Mr. Adams said, exposing children to these harmful products is against their fundamental human rights, as such, they should be protected. He said “shisha or water-pipe tobacco has also become a lifestyle among many of our youth who are ignorant about the hazardous effects and dangers it possess to health. Research shows that a session of shisha is equivalent to smoking 100-150 sticks of cigarettes.”
He however, welcomed the recently announced restriction by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on alcohol adverts, and wished it is extended further to 10pm by which time children would be deeply asleep.
“The only known way to reduce lung cancer, oral cancer, neck cancer, heart diseases, hypertension, obesity, extreme poverty etc. is absolute control over tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke and control of alcohol,” he recommended.
Oh his part, the World Health Organization Country representative to Ghana, Dr. Owen Kaluma, said, effective NCD prevention and control requires leadership, coordinated multi stakeholder engagement for health both at government level and at the level of a wide range of actors, “with such engagement and action including, as appropriate, health-in-all policies and whole-of-government approaches across sectors such as health, agriculture, communication, education, employment, energy, environment finance, food, foreign affairs, urban planning and youth affairs and partnership with relevant civil society and private sector entities.”
Dr. Kaluwa emphases that the primary role and responsibility for preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases lies with government, while efforts and engagement of all sectors of society, international collaboration and cooperation are essential for success.
The Ghana Non Communicable Disease Alliance (GhNCDA) is a newly formed network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). It was officially registered this year with the mission “To be 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”.
The formation of an NCD Alliance for Ghana was needed due to the rising health burden associated with NCDs in Ghana and the world over. NCDs are the leading causes of deaths and disabilities responsible for 39.5 million deaths annually.
The global epidemic of NCD is widely acknowledged as a major development challenge in the 21st century, and a significant threat to achieving internationally agreed sustainable development goals.
The establishment of the Ghana NCD Alliance will support and complement government in diverse ways including technical support through policy formulations, awareness creation, information sharing, reminding government on NCDs commitments etc.
The GhNCDA is made up of National Networks/Associations and NGOs working in diverse areas of health with particular attention on NCDs.
Source: Francis Edzorna Mensah