A Clinical Epidemiologist, School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied sciences (UHAS) has urged quasi-government health institutions to develop innovative strategies in the prevention and management of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Professor Fred Newton Binka said in the wake of alarming statistics of NCDs in Ghana as well as the global front, more attention was needed, hence developing innovative strategies in the management and prevention of the disease was key.
Professor Binka was speaking at the eighth Biennial Conference of the Ghana Association of Quasi-Government Health Institutions (GAQHI) on the theme: “Management of Non-Communicable Diseases: The Role of Quasi Government Health Institutions”.
NCDs account for about 50 per cent of deaths in most African countries and in Ghana, it accounts for 43 per cent of all causes of mortality with major NCDs such as hypertension, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and respiratory diseases becoming common in health facilities.
As of 2022, the Ghana Health Service data indicates that more than 600,000 people were diagnosed with high blood pressure with many more affected people undiagnosed.
Professor Binka said while the disease was being managed among persons who had been diagnosed already, it was also necessary for the facilities to target persons, who did not have the disease and providing enough education to them to help reduce the alarming statistics.
He said: “With this disease, there are two things, the people who are not sick are the most important, because if they get sick, they will have to live with it for life, but if we can prevent them from being sick, then we are going to save a lot of money.”
He said that was why they were called lifestyle diseases and that they needed to stop them from smoking, drinking, ensuring that they maintained appropriate weight, ensuring proper dietary conditions and physical activity.
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Board Chairman, GAQHI, indicated that with the improvement of socio-economic conditions of communities and life expectancy of nations in the world, NCDs had become a pressing global health issue and a major health burden of nations, including Ghana.
Dr Kabiru Azeez, President of the Institute, said: “The public should read a lot about wellness and safety in the environment, they should also be self-motivated to promote their good health as well as prevent themselves from getting diseases.
“Opportunity for free screening, including blood pressure, diabetes, vaccination, and breast examination should not be overlooked.”
Mr Mahama Asei Seini, Deputy Minister of Health, acknowledged the role and contributions of quasi government health facilities to the sector and called on the Association to invest more in establishing more health facilities and provide quality health care services to the citizenry.