Mr Labram Musah, the Programmes Director of Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) has called on government to increase taxes on tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and death.
He said failure to increase the taxes would impose massive costs on individuals and communities that would contradict the global commitments to sustainable development.
Mr Musah made the call in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday.
The call came after the World Health Organisation (WHO) Conference on NCDs held in Montevideo Uruguay on October 18-20, this year. The statement said the conference held that; “Governments must act on pledges to prevent NCDs in the first place, and to ensure that people can obtain services to treatment.” It said beating NCDs, and promoting health, were issues for everyone and across every area of government. “Finance Ministries save lives by taxing tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks, by cutting consumption and raising revenues to treat NCDs,” the statement said, adding that governments should not use trade and investment agreements as an excuse to look elsewhere. The statement urged education Ministries to ensure that the youth were well informed on the dangers of tobacco use, alcoholism and sugary drinks while providing healthy food at school and to provide opportunities for play and recreation to make students active. The Montevideo Uruguay Conference was aimed to provide guidance to member states on how fast to attain the Sustainable Development Goal garget 3.4 by influencing public policies in sectors beyond health. Launch a set of new global initiatives to help countries accelerate progress in reducing premature NCD mortality and to exchange national experiences in enhancing policy coherence to attain the nine voluntary global NCD targets for 2015. It was also to help raise awareness among political leaders for the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting and guide its preparations.