Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, Chairperson, Ghana NCD Alliance has called on government to allocate more resources to support programmes to mitigate Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in society.
She said: “NCD continue to be on the back burner even though statistics have shown that they are co-morbidities to Covid-19 deaths. They are responsible for several Covid-19 deaths and deserve more attention by way of resource allocation, and a planned programme of action to mitigate their negative impact on society.”
Dr Wiafe Addai made the call at the 4th National High-Level Meeting on the theme: “Leaving No One’s Health Behind, Prioritizing NCDs in the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”
She said; “The UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardships, but is officialdom making good this obligation in relation to NCD.
“Government is providing more health facilities in the various district across the country, which means providing access to care, but I think accessibility and affordability should go together if we want to achieve Universal Health Coverage” she stated and that, “There can be no justice without justice in healthcare.”
Dr Wiafe Addai said: “… Article 36, clause 10, of the 1992 constitution is unequivocal on the responsibility imposed on the State, in securing the health of citizens, and it reads: ‘The State shall safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment, and shall establish the basis for the full deployment of the creative potential of all Ghanaians.”
She pointed out that access to high quality, appropriate, and universal/comprehensive care remains a mirage for people living with NCDs and it remains unclear the extent to which health policy reforms towards the UHC agenda for Ghana have considered the needs of people living with NCDs.
“There is also a lack of a comprehensive review of policies to unravel these topical public health issues from a cross-section of key stakeholders including healthcare providers, people living with NCDs, CSOs, NGOs, policymakers, researchers and community members.”
The Vision of the GhNCD Alliance is to create a healthy Ghana free from NCDs and the mission is to be a leading organisation contributing to reducing NCD-related deaths and disabilities through health promotion, proper coordination, and health system strengthening and improving the quality of lives of people living with NCDs in Ghana.
“The Alliance has collectively resolved to protect the lives of patients with hypertension, cancers, diabetes, sickle cell anaemia, mental health challenges, and stroke among others, and this could be achieved if the media shines the spotlight on these conditions, which have ravaged families, the basic unit of life,” Dr Wiafe Addai said.
She emphasized that investing in health and leaving no one’s health behind required a composite national healthcare programme that looks to the equity and equality of each condition, with a corresponding resource allocation.
“The increasing burden of NCDs imposes on us all a responsibility to consistently engage, lobby and influence policy formulation while mobilizing civil society, private sector, NGOs and the media (traditional and social) into the awareness campaign spectrum,” she said.
She announced that the Alliance was developing a centralised national database to be leveraged on to advance the cause of formulating and the implementation of suitable policies.