Prof. Peter Lamptey, a professor in Global Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) at London School of Hygiene& Tropical Medicine/President Emeritus FHI360, has noted that lack of finances to combat NCDs is posing a challenge to efforts to curb the risk of increase.
Speaking on the topic Combatting Non-communicable Diseases: Africa’s Greatest Health Challenges, he noted that the funds available globally to address NCDs as compared to HIV/AIDS, Malaria etc, is nothing to write home about.
“There is virtually no response at all to combat NCDs as compared to HIV/AIDS and malaria and it is part of the reasons why NCDs continue to be a problem and it will continue to get worse,” he lamented.
Prof. Lamptey, who was the Guest Speaker at the 2023 Harvard University Joseph S. Agyepong Distinguished Lecture on Public Health in Africa at the University of Ghana- Legon in Accra, stressed that the impact of NCDs to sub-Saharan African is enormous as there is an increased cost to households.
“You have to buy medications, pay for treatments which is often too lengthy and expensive,” he noted.
He noted that Africa is currently experiencing a triple disease burden; endemic and epidemic, current and future pandemic (HIV, COVID) and lastly the explosive burden of NCDs and if immediate measures are not taken, “it will get worse”.
“We need better recognition of the burden of NCDs and we need not just individuals, but national and international support to combat it,” Prof. Lamptey emphasized.
This was further echoed by the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye. He noted that the cost of care is still catastrophic and this usual pushes Ghanaians to seek alternative treatment that do not work.
“Studies we have done indicate that one NCD can virtually collapse a household and this drives people to seek alternative treatments that do not work and that can have compounding effect on the individuals,” he warned.
Prof. Lamptey further reiterated that “One of us will end up with NCDs, the time to act is now adding that no one has to die or suffer from NCDs.”
In responding to the call, the Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong and his wife, Adelaide Siaw Agyepong donated GHc500,000 to support NCDS advocacy in Ghana.
The donation was beckoned on the fact that not much finances has been geared towards the education of the general public to trigger behavioural change.
The Joseph S. Agyepong Distinguished Lecture on Public Health in Africa is under the auspices of Harvard University Centre for African Studies (CAS) and aims at exploring topics related to public health in Africa by engaging leaders, policymakers, researchers and academics around Africa’s public health challenges.
This is the fourth annual Lecture on Public Health in Africa but the in Ghana since its endowment in 2020 by Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, founder and Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies.
The Joseph S. Agyepong Distinguished Lecture on Public Health in Africa provides an annual platform for CAS to partner with fellows and students at the Harvard Medical School, Harvard TH. Chan School to ensure that Africa is at the forefront of conversations, scholarship, and research in global public health.
The Joseph S. Agyepong Distinguished Lecture on Public Health in Africa was generously endowed by Joseph S. Agyepong founder and executive chairman of Jospong Group of
Established in 1995, Jospong is one of Ghana’s leading diversified holding companies., its portfolio includes Zoomlion Ghana, established in 2006 to provide sustainable waste management solutions that improve lives, the environment, and public health outcomes.
Jospong Group also partners with CAS to offer internship opportunities to Harvard University students interested in work in ICT, waste management, and public health and safety.
It is of interest to note that the contribution of Zoomlion in the space of environment and sanitation management has led to no recorded cases of cholera in Ghana since 2018 and that is a huge impact on public health.
Hosting the 2023 Agyepong Distinguished Lecture in partnership with the University of Ghana represents an opportunity to deepen linkages between Harvard University and the University of Ghana during its 75th anniversary year.