Policy on reducing Non Communicable Disease deaths before Cabinet

Accra – Dr Gyan Awuah Baffour, a Special Advisor to the Minister of Health, has said Ghana will soon implement its policy on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) to minimise related deaths.

The draft Policy, which is before Cabinet, would prioritise the promotion of healthy lifestyles, healthy environments and the provision of health and nutrition services.

Dr Baffour announced this at a media engagement and training for journalists on NCDs, which was organised, in Accra, by the Ghana Non Communicable Diseases Alliance (GhNCDA).

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

The Policy covers four major groups of NCDs, which share common risk factors with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases.

NCDs are diseases that are not transmissible directly from one person to another and affects people of all age groups, regions and countries.

Dr Baffour said they were lifestyle diseases, which could not be eradicated but managed, and urged all to be responsible, disciplined and eat healthily to deal with the menace.

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

Mr Ad Adams Ebenezer, the Vice Chairman of NCD Alliance, said the media needed to partner non governmental organisations to work towards minimising the diseases, which could affect any one.

“We all know someone whose life was cut short by a heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke, he stated.

“This is what happens if we fail to prioritise matters of NCDs in our society”.

Every year, he said, NCDs 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.

The problem had worsened due to increased tobacco usage, alcohol intake, unhealthy eating habits, among others.

Mr Ebenezer, however, noted that there were countries which had demonstrated that taking concrete action to beat NCDs was feasible; but this required a good partnership between civil society organisations and the media.

On the situation of cancers, he said, the figures were alarming thus the seeking of the commitment of journalists to create a cancer-free Ghana and cancer free world.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018.

The most common cases 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; while breast cancer also recorded 627,000 deaths.

He urged journalists to reflect very deeply on such realities, and commit to solutions that promoted health, protected people and prevented deaths and suffering.

“Our duty is to ensure that all people have access to the full knowledge on NCDs, be it risk factors, causes, prevention, early detection or treatment”.

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

While doing this job, they should undergo regular medical checks ups because of the stressful nature of their work, she advised.

Source: Ghana News Agency