The world is experiencing another pandemic of non-infectious disease like hypertension, diabetes and cancers which is killing more people silently; Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, Presidential Coordinator for Ghana’s COVID-19 Response stated in Accra on Tuesday.
Speaking at the opening of the 72nd Annual New Year School and Conference Dr Asamoa-Baah said these diseases do not receive much attention like the infectious disease because they kill slowly.
He said Ghanaians for instance are sitting on a time bomb and walking into a disaster slowly as more people have become overweight, a major risk factor in developing diabetes and hypertension.
Dr Asamoa-Baah said level of overweight in Ghana is growing exponentially, as most young people have adopted unhealthy eating habits, like eating a lot of junk foods such as Pizzas, noodles and more surgery drinks.
“They eat too much salt, they don’t like vegetables, fruits, they don’t engage in enough physical activities, they don’t drink enough water and don’t sleep enough, so in a way we are breeding a generation of Ghanaians who will have hypertension and diabetes with severe consequences for all of us,” he said.
He said Ghana needs to be prepared to detect unusual events in real time by investing seriously in laboratory works, saying ‘the time has come for us to take all aspects of laboratory works more seriously than we have done in the past’ .
He said Ghana’s biggest challenge in tackling the pandemic was the inability to communicate to the public effectively.
However, COVID-19 he said presents Ghanaians an opportunity to learn, challenge the status quo, think outside the box and discover their purpose as a people.
He stressed the need “for Ghana to take a second look at its concept of health, change its approach to health and invest more into health systems; human, animal and environmental health.
“As a nation a lot of our intervention goes into sickness care and not how to prevent the public from being sick, this calls for an understanding of health and your health, as people’s health are determined by many conditions”.
Dr Asamoa-Baah called on individuals to pay attention to their spiritual health, adding that, “it is not by accident that people seeks prayers when they get sick”.
He said live is becoming more stressful for many people and depression is common among the youth, hence the need for all to focus on their mental health and wellbeing.
He stressed the need for the media to be empowered with health literacy to be able to communicate ‘health’ to the public effectively.