The Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA), a civil society organization has put in place measures to guide its advocacy in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) within the context of Ghana’s Universal Health Coverage from 2020 to 2023.
The measures include an increase in universal, equitable, and affordable treatment and care; ensuring meaningful involvement of civil society and people living with NCDs in policy design and implementation; prioritization of NCD through a right-based approach in health and policy development; and adequate funding or increase in national budgetary allocation for NCDs by leveraging other sources of existing funding.
Mr Labram Musah, the National Coordinator of the GhNCDA made this known at the 3rd National High-Level Meeting on NCDs held in Accra in the lead to the 2020 Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day in December.
The meeting was on the theme: “Investment in NCDs and Universal Health Coverage, the key to Achieving Ghana’s Primary Health Care for All.”
Mr Musah said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2016 alone over 94,000 Ghanaians died from NCDs and that an estimated 22,000 lives in Ghana could have been saved if all the WHO Best Buys for the prevention and control of the diseases were implemented effectively.
Mr Musah said investment in the prevention and control of diseases was a critical priority to achieving the United Nations 2025 NCD targets and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said although COVID-19 is a global pandemic and could affect everyone, to date, evidence had suggested that people living with NCDs (PLWNCDs) were the most hit in Ghana with about 80 per cent recorded deaths.
He said despite the political commitments made by Ghana towards ameliorating the NCDs, there were still a significant proportion of PLWNCDs who were either unable to geographically or financially access high-quality healthcare.
Mr Musah said the National Health Insurance Scheme, which was introduced as a major step towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage was less comprehensive and does not cover major NCDs treatment and care services.
“Within the Ghanaian contest, PLWNCDs are faced with various forms of discrimination and stigmatization,” he said, adding that; “There is also a low level of awareness about NCDs and its major risk factors, yet population-based interventions to address this public health challenges are highly underfunded.”
The National Coordinator called on the next government in 2021 to show ambition and boldness in utilizing taxation, regulation, and legislation for effective improvement in the health of the people while urging for increased political buy-in for free, quality, and accessible universal healthcare for all without exception.
Mr Musah also called on political parties to effectively adopt and implement recommendations to prioritize, protect, and promote public health in the country.