By Bernice Bessey
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and mental health are contributing to 42 percent of all deaths in Ghana each year, even though they are treatable
A major impediment for persons living with this condition is their inability to meet the cost of diagnosis, treatment and care, which is not helping Ghana’s case in championing Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The saddest aspect of NCDs in Ghana was that they are becoming epidemic, since diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and others have been attributed to lifestyles.
However, Ghana cannot end its non-communicable disease epidemic without Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Ahead of the United Nations High Level meeting on UHC, to be attended by world leaders in late September, 2019, the Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA) has engaged stakeholders in Accra this week.
The overall objective of the meeting was to discuss challenges and priorities of Ghanaians within the context of NCDs, and provide concrete policy actions and recommendations to addressing them in the lead up to the coming UN High Level meeting.
Labram Musah, National Coordinator of GhNCDA, while making a presentation on NCD prevention and control, said that the government had a responsibility to ensure quality healthcare coverage of its citizens.
Defending his claim, he said: “The goal of Universal Health Coverage is to address the health needs of patients like those living with NCDs, by ensuring minimum standards of care and financial protection.
“Unfortunately, over half of the world’s population cannot access essential healthcare, and millions are driven into poverty each year because of out-of-pocket spending on health service.”
He worriedly said despite these challenges, the number of people living with chronic conditions are on the rise, and optimal medical care often depended on the person’s financial strength.
Mr Musah informed the gathering that lots of activities were embarked upon by their members to sensitise and educate the public about NCDs on healthy lifestyles, as well as where to seek help when one gets the condition.
A representative of the Ghana Mental Health Authority, on behalf the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Akwasi Osei, said over 4 million Ghanaians are perishing from mental illness, yet little is being done to save the situation. He said the life expectancy of people suffering from mental illness is short, as a result of their poor quality of life. He said only two per cent of mental patients are able to receive treatment, warning that they are gradually taking over the city’s streets.
News Source: The Chronicle