Dr. Kofi Agyenim-Boateng, former head of the Diabetes Clinic at the nation’s second largest referral facility, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), has appealed to the government to take steps to reduce taxes on imported drugs to make them affordable to patients.
He said the high cost of many of the drugs was making it difficult to effectively manage a non-communicable disease like diabetes.
He told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that medication for the diabetic is imported and said the level of tax imposed on these was making the cost of treatment unaffordable to the average Ghanaian patient.
This was increasingly forcing many of the patients to resort to traditional herbal medicine and to seek help at prayer camps, he added.
Dr. Agyenim-Boateng said it was more troubling seeing the condition of such patients worsen, leading to complications and death.
His appeal comes on the heels of the celebration of this year’s “World Diabetes Day” and he said the unhealthy situation needed to change.
He asked that everything was done to reduce the financial burden on patients.
He encouraged everybody to be screened for diabetes and said it was important the disease was properly managed at an early stage.
“Many of us do not know our status and only report to the clinic when the condition is complicated, so there is the need for all to screen.”
He mentioned those at high risk as people, who had a family history of diabetes, pregnant women, people with high lipid levels, overweight and the obese.
A senior dietician at KATH, Dr. Efua Owusu Ansah, advised the diabetic to eat foods with low sugar and to increase their intake of fibre rich foods.
She said patients should also exercise more and cut down on their intake of sodium rich foods – beef, spices and salted fish, fats and oils, and refined food including perfume rice.