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Ghana needs practical solutions to reduce diabetes BY PHILIP ANTOH

THE GHANA Non Communicable Disease Alliance (Ghana NCD Alliance) has expressed worry over the continuous rise in the number of diabetes cases in the country as Ghana join the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Diabetes Day, which fell on November 14, 2019.

The theme for the event was; “the Family and Diabetes.”

According to the National Coordinator: Ghana NCD Alliance, Mr Labram Musa, despite the various awareness campaigns by organisations and other relevant institutions, not much progress is being felt.

The 2019 Diabetes Day, aimed at raising awareness of the impact diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected, as well as promoting the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes.

Mr Musa said even though some organisations are supporting the Ministry of Health to reduce the incidence by providing timely care to those living with Diabetes and hypertension, there is the need for more action.

‘It is important however to note that when proper measures are not put in place to ameliorate the canker, all efforts will be in vain. We believe in prevention as best investment any leader can bestow to its people,” he stated.

He said many diabetes risk factors including overweight and obesity, tobacco and alcohol intake, unhealthy diet, being physically inactive are all preventable adding that the disease resulting from family history and genetics are also largely preventable when one knows his/her diabetes status.

The coordinator sad diabetes is a physical illness and must be managed typically through proper medication, healthy diet and regular exercise.

Many Ghanaians are still struggling with the financial burden of costs of medicines, diagnostic tests and recommended diets. We are calling for financial protection of paying for health services from out of pockets expenses. The high cost of treatment and regular test for diabetes puts lots of financial burden on people living with diabetes, thus pushing them into poverty. The unexpected illness requires them to use up their life savings or borrow thereby destroying the future of their children.

To effectively achieve the United Nations Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is incumbent for government to put people first and invest in health which is a human right defined by WHO as “The right to health for all people means that everyone should have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without suffering financial hardship” and that “No one should get sick and die just because they are poor, or because they cannot access the health services they need.”

“We are witnessing direct opposite because the people especially the poor, vulnerable and the underserved communities are dying because they are unable to afford quality and affordable medicines at the point of need contrary to principles of the UHC.”

The Ghana NCD Alliance proposes the following as a means to reducing the incidence; families must learn more about the warning signs of diabetes and find out their risk of type 2 diabetes, empower communities and people with diabetes on the management of diabetes, promote the consumption of locally produced indigenous Ghanaian food and initiate policies to check industry such as tobacco, alcohol, sugar products and junk food joints in the prevention and promotion efforts on diabetes.

Others are enactment of legislations mandating manufacturers to display food content labels, public awareness campaign at all levels especially at the local and remote communities, increase budget allocation to NCDs programmes, improve the National Health Insurance Scheme to cover all diabetes diagnoses, treatment and care, quality training for healthcare workers specially community health workers to expand reach and prohibition of sale of unapproved local/herbal medicines

It also recommended that all health centers must dedicate a consulting room for people to walk in to just check their diabetes, hypertension and other vitals; thus easing stress and encouraging more people to know their health status.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure and early death. Simple action can reduce the risk. Every 8 seconds someone dies from diabetes and 1 in 2 people with diabetes do not know they have it.

About michael adjei

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