Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the health sector have been called upon to work closely with government to create awareness and with preventive measures to control Non Communicable Disease(NCD) in the country.
Mrs Magdalene Ewurasi Apenteng, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Planning made the call during the launching ceremony of Ghana Non Communicable Disease Alliance (GhNCDA) in Accra last Thursday.
The GhNCDA is to create NCDs-free in Ghana by contributing to reduce 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 the country.
Launching the GhNCDA on behalf of the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo Addo, Mrs Apenteng called on CSOs and Ghanaians in general to take NCD prevention and control seriously by avoiding unhealthy lifestyles that would endanger their well-being.
She said regular exercises to reduce diseases and good eating habit would go a long way to reduce the risk of NCD and ultimately cutdown government financial expenditure health campaign, among others.
Mrs Apenteng also charged members of the GhNCDA and stakeholders in health to collaborate with the Ministry of Health and other development partners to carry out advocacy on harmful effects of smoking, high alcohol consumption and unhealthy diet.
She however urged NCDA to as part of preventive measures set aside a day in every month if possible a week for people to undertake some exercise of their bodies for them to keep healthy.
The acting Chief Director also tasked the Alliance to take thee advocacy and awareness campaign to the primary and the second-cycle schools to create awareness among the children as they grow up, stating that, “a healthy nation promotes prosperous development.”
She reiterated government commitment to work to meet the Sustainable Development Goal(SDG) on health as a co-Chair on the the SDG of the UN development goals.
Mr Labram M. Musah, Coordinator of the GhNCDA in a remarks said the main focus was on the UN High Level Conference on NCDs later this year.
According to him, the Alliance would work to increase the level of NCDs awareness and advocate government commitment ahead of the UN conference.
He announced that the Alliance would hold strategic engagement meeting with the Ministry of Health and NCDs Focal Points, among others on the progress Ghana had made on the four time bound NCDs commitments, progress on National Policy for the prevention and control of NCDs.
In addition to that, the Alliance would have similar strategic engagement with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health to discuss the need for legal reforms to give priority to NCDs as a threat to development and national agenda.
“We will develop materials and issue press statements and releases, hold radio and TV discussions in support of national and NCD awareness days; conduct a needs assessment to identify policy gaps and priority areas of intervention,” he said.
Mr Musah further said, technical committee meetings towards the development of the Regulations (Legislative Instruments) on the harmful use of alcohol and the need for review and development of the national strategic management, prevention and control of NCDs would be held.
The Alliance would also undertake screening exercises in some selected communities on high blood pressure, diabetes, and make referrals where necessary while continuing to raise awareness on the risk factors of NCDs, especially tobacco and alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.
“Although some NCDs cannot be avoided, much of the global NCD burden can be prevented by addressing diet, physical activity, tobacco, and alcohol use and making the places we live in ones that promote health.
”Promoting healthy diet, physical activity, reducing alcohol intake, and tobacco cessation are simple and cost-effective measures to reduce premature deaths and disabilities from NCD,” Mr Musah stated.
Mr Owen Kaluwa, Country Representative of World Health Organisation (WHO) applauded the stakeholders for the health consciousness effort been made and noted that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health was one of the fundamental human rights of every human being devoid of race, colour, sex, language, religion, among others as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
He said, ” as Ghana strives to achieve NCDs targets, let us not lose track of our commitment to achieve the SDG target, especially Goal 3 which talks about health and well-being for all by 2030, which also has attainment of Universal Health Coverage as its main target.”
According to WHO rep, effective NCD prevention and control required leadership and coordinated multi-stakeholder engagement at the governmental level and a wide range of actors to bring appropriate “health-in-all policies” across the ministerial sectors.
“People and communities should be empowered and included in activities for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, including advocacy, policy, planning, legislation, service provision, monitoring, research and evaluation,” he advised.
This, Dr Kaluwa said: “It is my hope that government will continue to provide leadership and support for the Ghana NCD Alliance to work effectively to complement its (government) efforts at reducing NCDs burden in Ghana.”
He therefore called on the government of Ghana to show commitment to the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs (2013-2020) which was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May 2013.
Sources:www.therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba