BY ROSEMOND BOATENG ADDAI | Rosemond.firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GHANA Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (GhNCDA has stated that Ghana cannot hope to end its growing non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic while people struggle to meet the costs of diagnosis, treatment and care.
According to the group, nearly half of Ghana’s annual death rate is accounted for by NCDs such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and mental health at a time when health care costs keep rising.
Dr Beatrice Wiafe-Addai, Chairperson of both GhNCDA and the Ghana Cancer Board, at the meeting ), at a meeting held in Accra, said “if we are to address the health needs of our people, like those living with NCDs, we need to do so by ensuring everyone enjoys quality standards of care and financial protection. In other words, Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Without UHC we cannot end the NCD epidemic.”
Mr Christopher Agbegah, representing the community of people living with NCDs, said “Ghana’s health system is under stress as a result of the rapid spread of NCDs.”
According to him, treatment of NCDs comes at a huge cost that undermines workforce productivity and the economic prosperity of the country.
“We need to begin to seriously consider how UHC might become the tool to both treat and prevent the NCD epidemic,” he added.
Mr Alexander Kodwo Kom Abban, Deputy Minister of Health, lauded the effort of World Health Organisation for having UHC on the global health agenda and that his ministry strongly supported the notion that commitments to make UHC a reality globally going forward will rely on individual governments making the right call at a national level.
He said “the Ghana government is committed to implementing UHC and ending the NCD epidemic in our country.”
The meeting was attended by government representatives, civil society organisations, UN Country Representative, traditional and religious leaders, and international and local nongovernmental organisations.