A Civil Society Status Report (CSSR) on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) response in Ghana has been unveiled with a call for the establishment of a comprehensive package of NCD services as part of the Universal Health Coverage.
The Report, generated out of research initiated by the Ghana NCD Alliance, provides reliable and credible feedback that would help improve and shape the implementation of national policies on diseases in the country.
It highlighted the relevance of policy, plans and strategies for the prevention and control of NCDs as well as identifies areas for immediate action, and provides insights for future tactics to enhance civil society, relevant private sector and government engagement.
It was launched by Dr Ignatius A.N. Awinibuno, Chief Programme Director, Allied Health of the Ministry of Health at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by Civil Society Movement in Ghana led by the Ghana NCD Alliance.
The Report recommended the leveraging of domestic innovative financing mechanisms for NCD services, increase coverage and patronage of the wellness clinics services, implementation and enforcement of regulation on advertisement of alcohol, emerging tobacco products and unhealthy commodities.
Others were meaningful involvement of CSOs and people living with NCDs in decision-making, policy development, programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation, the inclusion of mental health services in the National Health Insurance Scheme and the re-prioritization and improvement of the CHPS system.
Dr Awinibuno in a speech called on all actors in health, especially the civil society organisations, to collaborate to help hasten the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goal target 3.4, which sought to reduce NCDs premature mortality by one-third by 2030.
Dr Efua Commeh, the Acting Programme Manager, NCD Control Programme of the Ghana Health Service, said the Service was excited that the country was now changing the conversation towards NCDs and commended the private sector for getting involved.
“It has never happened before for the private sector to even talk NCD; it makes a huge difference for us. What is left for us is that that should translate into actionable responses. Because it is not just about talk. Ultimately, we must see impact. We must see improvement in patient’s outcome and in the medicines that are procured among others,” she stated.
Dr Commeh re-emphasized the theme of the National Health Policy, which states; “Ensuring healthy lives for all” and that literally the policy is targeting NCD risk factors, which at least shows that the health system is being re-oriented and that is crucial to the country.
Professor Richard Aryeetey, Head, Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department of the University of Ghana, who was the Chairman for the occasion, said the initiative of the Ghana NCD Alliance was commendable.
He said a lot was being done already towards the control and prevention of the diseases but much more needed to be done and called on all institutions in the country to get involve and that it should not be left alone for the health sector.
Mr Labram Musah, the National Coordinator, Ghana NCD Alliance in a welcoming address, said the Report was initiated to understand and assess the national response to NCDs, from a civil society perspective.
“It is meant to complement and support government official planning, implementation, surveillance, monitoring and reporting on NCDs,” he stated, adding that the overall findings was to ‘Call to Action’ to improve the government’s and civil society organisations’ response to the growing burden of diseases in Ghana.