A geoscientist, Professor Emmanuel Arhin has implored geoscientists and medical practitioners to collaborate and identify solutions to address the rising level of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Country.
Prof. Arhin of the Department of Geographic Science, School of Geo-Sciences, University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) noted issues relating to NCDs were inter-related, saying it therefore required an integrated approach to be able to achieve the desired results.
He stated that the public needs to “see the two at par, as in the 17th century in a country like Great Britain, anyone who studied medicine needed to know about geology because it deals with what we eat and drink and the things around us.”
Prof. Arhin made the call on Tuesday in Sunyani at a public lecture on the theme ”Prescription for Better Environment and Prevention of Spread of Non-Communicable Diseases: The Perspective of the Geoscientist” as part of activities marking the 10th anniversary celebration of the UENR this year.
He observed NCDs in relation to governmental policies on health had not received the needed attention by the country’s health care system, saying currently the NCDs prevalence and mortality rates had increased but it continued to receive less attention as a major public health crisis if compared to infectious diseases.
According to him, “statistics available as of September 2021 showed NCDs killed 86,200 people in Ghana each year”, with 55.5 per cent of them aged less than 70 years and 58 per cent of total affected persons being males.
Prof. Arhin said the statistics indicated chronic NCDs were the leading cause of death in 2017 and 2018 representing 25 and 20 per cents respectively, adding that NCDs used to be the seventh killer disease in Ghana in 2001 but became the number one killer disease in 2021.
He appealed to Geoscientists to carry out surveys across the country to have a map for potential risk areas to be identified and flagged for mitigation against environmental health epidemics.
”The European Union has a geochemical atlas on all member countries that has identified areas of high quantity of mineral elements and areas with low minerals to enable the growing of crops in specific areas and where there is a deficiency of a mineral, fortification is done, ” he cited.