Group calls for inclusion of NCDs into health intervention programmes

Mr Labram Musah, Coordinator for the Ghana Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Alliance, has called on government to factor NCDs into the health intervention programmes.

He said the inclusion of the NCDs into the health intervention programmes such as the NHIS and LEAP projects would relief people with such disease conditions of some financial burden.

Speaking at a community sensitization forum for market women and identifiable groupings in Sekondi, Mr Musah noted that it had become a disease burden which the government must factor into health care intervention programmes to cushion people with such disease conditions.

Non Communicable Diseases according to the World Health Organisation NCD country profile for 2018, it accounted for 94, 4000 deaths in Ghana representing 43 per cent of all deaths.

The condition also represented 86 percent of premature NCDs deaths among the low and middle income countries including Ghana.

The NCDs, according to Mr Musah, was not only a health problem but a society challenge as well adding, “The rapid rise in NCDs impeded poverty reduction initiatives by increasing household cost associated with healthcare”.

Some common NCDs conditions include hypertension, diabetes, asthma, heart attacks, strokes, respiratory diseases, anxiety and depression with risk factors such as tobacco use, excessive drinking, unhealthy first and air pollution.

Mr. Musah said regular screening was a good tool in preventing the progression of some NVDs such as diabetes and hypertension and called for good policies and laws in that regard to help curb the spate of NCDs among the populace.

Mrs. Gifty Eugenia Kusi, the Deputy Western Regional Minister said NCDs were killing majority of Ghanaians, adding, “NCDs is emerging as a public health priority in developing countries and it is necessary to understand the different community-based interventions developed and implemented across the world.”

She noted that NCDs contributed significantly to illness, disability and deaths in Ghana with a projected increase due to ageing, rapid urbanization and unhealthy lifestyles.

The Minister bemoaned the state in which up to 48 per cent of Ghanaian adults had hypertension and 9% with diabetes.

“It was in recognition of their impact on public health that the Ministry of Health introduced the Regenerative Health and Nutrition Programme in 2006 and developed a health policy which clearly prioritizes the promotion of healthy lifestyles and healthy environments and the provision of health and nutrition services.”, she added.

The NCDs Policy has been inspired by the national health policy and the health objectives of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda 2010-2013. It provides the technical direction and framework for implementing NCD-related programmes.

It recognized that effective implementation depended on enabling public sector-wide policies in trade, food and agriculture, transportation, urban planning and essential to enact or enforce relevant legislation to provide the backbone for food, tobacco and alcohol policies.

Mrs. Kusi said it was possible to live with the condition and have a longer life if eating, sleeping, relationships pattern and belief system were properly checked and managed.

Reverend Ernest Kwofie, the Western Regional Director of Peace Council who chaired the programme encouraged the public to avoid tobacco and alcohol and promote healthy food and physical activities.

He called on people with the condition to seek early treatment in order to live meaningful lives and longer lives.

Nana Akyenba III, the Regional Focal Person for the campaign called on traditional and opinion leaders in the communities to help in educating people that NCD was preventable and needed to promote tolerance and acceptance of people living with NCDs.

She noted that the rate of deaths associated with non communicable diseases was alarming; hence, ensuring a people and community centered approach to Ghana’s NCDs responses.
Source: GNA

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