As every year, WHO regional offices schedule their Regional Committee Meetings (RCM) between the months of August and October, in order to discuss and monitor progress on regional commitments. The first RCM was the 69th Session of the Regional Committee for Africa (link is external), taking place during the week of 19-23 August 2019 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. Ghana NCD Alliance national coordinator Labram Musah and Martha Coffie, advocate living with a mental health condition and working with the Mental Health Society of Ghana attended the regional meeting.
NCDs – including cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes – are responsible for 43% of all deaths in Ghana. On 21 May 2019, the Ministry of Health launched the Ghana Advocacy Agenda for People Living with NCDs in Accra, in the presence of representatives from Ghana NCD Alliance, WHO Country Office and people living with NCDs.
“Ghana cannot afford to exclude NCDs from its national health and development agendas any longer and nor can it ignore the role that those people living with NCDs must play in policy making if we are to turn back an epidemic that is ripping communities apart and forcing catastrophic, out of pocket health expenditures,” said Labram M. Musah, coordinator of the GhNCDA and who is also the Programmes Director at Vision for Alternative Development (VALD)in Accra.
Ghana has made some progress on strengthening policy response to NCDs. However, implementation of these national laws and policies remain weak. People living with NCDs, who have long-term experience with the health system, play a vital role in improving prevention and control of NCDs.
The Agenda serves to strengthen the NCD response at national, regional and local levels in Ghana. It is a compass for civil society and people living with NCDs to demand action from decision makers, urge them to meet commitments, and to put people first.