Ghana to approve draft policy on NCDs to reduce deaths

Accra- Dr Gyan Awuah Baffour, Special Advisor to the Minister of Health, says Ghana would soon pass the draft policy on the prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) to help reduce deaths in the country.

The policy, which is before cabinet seeks to prioritize the promotion of healthy lifestyles, healthy environments and the provision of health and nutrition services.

Dr Baffour made this known at a training for journalists on non-communicable diseases, which was organised by the Ghana Non Communicable Diseases Alliance (GhNCDA) in Accra.

The training, which was on the theme; “Mainstreaming NCD’s Prevention and Control in the Media” formed part of activities to commemorate the World Cancer Day celebrations.

The policy according to Dr Awuah Baffour covers four major groups of NCDs, which share common risk factors related to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are diseases that are not transmissible directly from one person to another and affects people of all age groups, regions and countries.

He said NCD’s are lifestyle diseases, which cannot be eradicated but could be managed and urged all to be responsible, disciplined and show commitment to what they eat to deal with the menace.

“We can eat everything but it should be in moderation,” he added.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018 and the most common cancers are: lung, breast, colorectal, prostate, skin and stomach cancers.

In 2018, lung cancer caused 1.76 million deaths, colorectal recorded 862,000, stomach cancer 783,000, liver 782,000 and breast cancer also recorded 627,000 worldwide.

Mr Adams Ebenezer, the Vice Chairman Ghana NCD Alliance, speaking at the event said the figures were alarming, hence, the need for commitment as journalists to create a cancer-free Ghana and cancer free world.

He said non communicable diseases affected everybody one way or the other, hence, the need for collected efforts to reduce the number of deaths.

“We all know someone whose life was cut short by a heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke. This is what happens if we fail to prioritize matters of NCD’s in our society,” he added.

He said every year, NCD’s kill 41 million people aged between seven and 65.

The vast majority of these premature deaths do not occur in rich nations, but among the poorest people in the lower middle income countries.

Mr Ebenezer noted that the problem had worsened due to the increase tobacco usage, alcohol intake, unhealthy eating habits, among others.

He urged journalists to reflect deeply on such realities, and commit to solutions that promote health, protect people and prevent avoidable death and suffering.

“Our duty is to ensure that all people have access to the full knowledge on NCD’s, be it risk factors, causes, prevention, early detection and treatment,” he added.

Mrs Linda Asante-Agyei, Vice President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), commended the organisers for the workshop and advised journalists to educate the public on NCD’s to effect positive change.

The Vice President advised journalists to ensure that as they educate the people they also have themselves checked and live healthy lifestyles.

This she said was important due to the busy nature of the profession.

Source: Ghana News Agency