Professor Kwadwo Koram, the Former Director of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Legon, said Ghanaians must examine their beliefs in the context of accepting scientific truths about controlling communicable and non-communicable diseases.
He urged Ghanaians to adopt scientific measures like utilising the knowledge of health agencies in the acquisition of vaccines to make a large proportion of the populace immune to such diseases.
He said this in Accra at a symposium to mark this year’s Founder’s Week Celebration organised by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Speaking on the topic; “Managing Communicable Diseases” Prof. Koram said communicable diseases arose mainly as a result of microorganisms and humans battling for survival, which could be passed directly from one victim to another.
He added that in the past years, majority of deaths were as a result of communicable diseases but through scientific studies, which brought about the Germ Theory among others, a greater understanding of the causes and transitions of communicable diseases was achieved.
Prof. Koram said a scientific study had helped to generate tools for the prevention, control and the possible declination of those diseases instead of relying on hope and expectations.
He added that the proportion of deaths had decreased globally with the reliance on scientific methods rather than communicable diseases becoming the main cause of deaths.
The Institute of Health Studies in Washington estimates that currently the majority of global deaths are due to metabolic diseases but in low and middle income countries such as Ghana communicable diseases continue to exact a menace, he said.
In addressing the non communicable diseases management, Dr Joel Yarney, the Consultant Oncologist and Director, National Centre for Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, said people sought herbal alternative treatments for otherwise scientifically reliable medical care, which ended up aggravating their conditions.
Dr Yarney said for Ghana to fully attain the Sustainable Development Goal of ”Good Health and Wellbeing,” it was crucial Ghanaians accepted scientific solutions in curbing non communicable diseases such as cancer, kidney related diseases, under-nutrition and over-nutrition, which is obesity.
He said one general contributing factor, according to a research done by the World Health Organisation that causes non communicable diseases, was personal behaviour or lifestyle as well as environmental exposures.
He said people’s heavy intake of alcohol, smoking of tobacco products, and excessive consumption of red meat and lastly activities leading to the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases are all reasons that result in the widespread cases of non-communicable diseases in society.
Obesity, he said, was also a rising pandemic in the communities and that it was higher in women than it was in men.
He advised that a much more improved lifestyle and personal awareness like eating less calories-based diets and regular exercises would go a long way to improve individual health.