Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, has said it is very important to look at Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) holistically to ensure that persons with the disease are able to enjoy life in line with the objectives of Ghana’s policy on NCDs and the NCD Control Programme.
He said NCDs are diseases of significance to public health and in countries still grappling with infectious diseases such as Ghana, out-patient attendance in the facilities were still dominated by communicable diseases such as malaria, acute respiratory tract infections, skin diseases, intestinal worms and diarrhoeal.
Dr Appiah-Denkirah was speaking in an address read for him at the opening of a two-day meeting of the Ghana Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance in Accra.
The event was held under the theme: ‘’Ensuring a People-Centred Approach to Ghana’s NCD Response’’.
Dr Appiah-Denkyirah said NCDs such as diabetes and hypertension also account for a significant proportion Out-Patient Department attendance, admissions and deaths in our facilities adding that stroke, for example, as a common complication of hypertension and diabetes was among the leading causes of deaths in the country.
He said there is the need to regularly provide healthcare for people with NCDs as the concomitant economic costs and loss of productivity are all evidence to the fact that the burden of NCDs and associated costs are not restricted to the person with NCD but society at large.
‘’For us in the health service delivery sector, the spectrum of prevention from primary to secondary prevention remain our focus while efforts are pursued to ensure that all other relevant sectors play their role in reducing the burden of NCDs in Ghana’’, Dr Appiah Denkirah said.
He said the health sector in particular was positioned to provide the needed support for screening, diagnosing and managing cases of NCDs to ensure optimum health.
To this end, the Director-General said, several strategies have been implemented while new and innovative ways are being explored to address the matter.
He added that the inclusion of some NCDs in the benefits package of Ghana’s NHIS is one way of alleviating the burden on persons with NCDs.