PATH and IOC, launch community sport initiative to reduce NCDs in Ghana

an International Non-Governmental Organisation, the International Olympic Committee through its Olympism365 programme, together with stakeholders have launched a new initiative to help improve community sport to reduce Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Ghana.

The initiative, dubbed, ‘Community Sport and Health Cooperation’ aims to strengthen collaboration between the sports and health sectors through implementing co-created sport-based community programmes jointly delivered by health sports stakeholders to increase participation to improve physical, mental, and social wellbeing.

The three-year Cooperation initiative is led by a global steering committee including the International Olympics Committee (IOC), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and designated implementation partner PATH.

According to the WHO, about 22 per cent of adults aged 18 years and above and 81 per cent of adolescents in Ghana are not physically active.

Adding that physical inactivity is one of the main risk factors for non-communica
ble diseases (NCDs), including cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.

Mr Ollie Dudfield, Associate Director, Olympism365, speaking as part of a multi-stakeholder meeting said the launch of the Community Sport and Health Cooperation Initiative was therefore a giant step towards addressing physical inactivity and reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases in Ghana.

This would help achieve the WHO target of a 15 per cent relative reduction in the global prevalence of physical inactivity, he added.

Mr Dudfield was confident that the IOC’s collaboration with PATH would contribute to the sport, health, and active communities’ portfolio of Olympism365, which focuses on increasing people’s access to safe, inclusive, and health-promoting sports participation opportunities.

Ms Helen McGuire, the Global Programme Lead, NCDs PATH, said noncommunicable diseases continue to burden health systems, with insufficiently active individuals facing a 20 to 30 per cent increased risk o
f premature death.

She said the incredible rise in NCDs with less support from donors and to reduce out-of-pocket spending, the initiative is a powerful tool to increase physical activity, prevent NCDs, and improve overall health.

Dr Wisdom Atiwoto, the Director, Research, Statistics and Information Management of the Ministry of Health, highlighting the importance of sports said the activity was an extremely low-cost activity and a highly effective tool to promote good health.

He said the new initiative if utilized effectively, could help reduce health expenditure by 50 per cent adding that this was in line with the national NCD strategy for 2022-2026.

Dr Patience Cofie, Country Manager, PATH Ghana, said the initiative was being activated concurrently in Ghana, Peru, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Nepal where national collectives of health and sport stakeholders would collaborate to develop and deliver community sport projects targeting over one million people across the five countries by 2025.

She said her outf
it would therefore serve as the secretariat for the implementation of the Community Sport and Health Cooperation in the country.

Dr Cofie highlighting some of the health interventions PATH Ghana had embarked on specifically NCDs, stated that the new project would improve access, enhance knowledge, and strengthen investment in community sport and physical activity to promote healthy well-being.

She called for more strategic partnerships to strengthen health system capacity and resilience in the country, adding that the media plays a key role in this regard.

Source: Ghana News Agency