The Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA) has called on the government to convene a national conversation to address the financial difficulties of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country, particularly diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers.
It said currently diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers among others were not part of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) benefit package, which has been a burden to people living with the diseases.
The GhNCDA also recommended for imposition of high taxes on health-harming products such as sugar sweetened beverages (SSB), alcohol, and tobacco, to control consumption while equipping healthcare facilities at the primary levels such as the CHPS to effectively treat and manage diabetes.
A statement signed by Mr Labram Musah, the National Coordinator of the GhNCDA and copied to the Ghana News Agency to commemorate the 2022 World Diabetes Day on theme: “Access to Diabetes education, with the slogan, Education to protect tomorrow.”
The campaign is to raise awareness in all sectors of society and to provide diabetes education to ensure early diagnosis and management to prevent complication; lengthen and improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes.
The statement said between 2019 and 2022 more than 4.16 million people in Ghana had type ‘2’ diabetes while on the other hand prediabetic patients were around 4.6 million people according to statista.com.
“Evidence suggests that the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) had increased in parallel to overweight and obesity trends. Currently, SSBs contribute between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of youth’s caloric intake and are the primary source of added sugar in the diet of children and adolescents (Childhood Obesity),” it stated.
The statement urged the government to invest in health promotion and interventions to ensure wider access to diabetes and other NCDs education while urging for the inclusion of the disease in the NHIS list to ensure equitable, comprehensive, affordable, and quality treatment and care.
“Despite well-document evidence on the rising cases and effects of diabetes in Ghana, most of the diabetic population do not have access to appropriate health services, and experience high-out- of pocket payment on simple things like test strips, which the NHIS currently is not covering as part of its benefits package,” it stated.
The statement said: “Diabetes and its related health complications can be dire and very costly, which could take a severe toll on the quality of life; affecting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the affected person, caregivers, and the entire family with children highly impacted and at the disadvantaged, hence the need for a deliberate actionable plan to roll out government-led nationwide education to prevent and mitigate the rising harm of diabetes.”