Mr. Labram Musah, the National Coordinator of the Ghana Non-Communicable Disease Alliance (GhNCDA) has called on government to prioritize investment in reducing non-communicable diseases in the country.
He said given the proven interest by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to reduce NCD mortality by 30 per cent by 2030 it was imperative for the government to prioritize investment in their effort.
“Accelerating action on NCDs should be seen as the fulfilment of a promise by government since every UN Member State committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, pledging to deliver health and wellbeing for all, achieve universal health coverage (UHC), and build a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable world,” he stated.
Mr Musah, who is also the Director of Programmes of the Vision for Alternative Development made the call at a meeting jointly organised by the GhNCDA and the NDPC in Accra, as part of activities to mark the Global Week for Action on NCDs on September 8, 2022.
The Global Week for Action on NCDs is a campaign to address the human and economic toll of NCDs. In total the five leading NCDs; cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory conditions, cardiovascular diseases and mental health conditions, are estimated to cost more than two trillion US dollars per year (US$47 Trillion from 2010 TO 2030).
Mr. Musah said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) an investment of under $1 per person per year in cost-effective measures to prevent and treat NCDs could save seven million lives in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) by 2030.
“Investment in NCDs has a potential to save and improve lives by 2030: most of the 15 million annual NCD deaths in LMICs of people between 30-70 years can be prevented or delayed,” he said.
Mr. Musah noted that prices on unhealthy products were still affordable and accessible in Ghana and that increase in prices of those products could save the country a lot of money, reduce NCDs burden, improve health outcome and this would become a win–win for health.
He said Ghana as a global leader in NCDS and Sustainable Development Goals it should galvanise support for the control and prevention of the diseases to be included in the Global Fund.
“In the lead up to the 2nd Global Dialogue on Sustainable Funding for NCD Prevention and Control scheduled in 2023- we call on the Ghana government to advance planning and negotiation that might lead to real commitments and progress,” he stated.
Mrs. Mary Mpereh, the Acting Director, Policy Development and Planning at the NDPC gave the assurance that the revised policy on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Commission’s 2022-2025 policy framework would be keenly implemented to reduce the disease burden in the country.
She said: “We did not see much in terms of the last implementation of the NCDs policy and therefore we are very keen that this revised one is actually implemented to our satisfaction.”
Mrs. Mpereh said there was the need for NCDs stakeholders to agree on the indicators that they wanted to track in the policy framework so that they could have other fora to discuss them.
“I think that we should have more representation on cross-sectoral planning group on food systems and nutrition security because the agenda is one; we don’t want to have so many separate agendas.
“Because the whole point of coordination is to make sure that all the stakeholders speak with one voice so that we can have the impact that we want,” she stated.
“I think the important thing is that we want to see all of you around the table when it comes to discussing the issues.
At the meeting were representatives from other civil society organisations, health institutions, and a four-member delegation from the Centre for Trade, Policy and Development, a think-tank in Zambia on a study visit to Ghana.