The President of the National Diabetes Association, Mrs Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, has called on the government to come up with a national diabetes control programme to help manage the scourge of the disease across the country.
She said the country needed a national diabetes plan to drive intensified public education and prevention of the disease.
The President of the association made the call when the country commemorated World Diabetes Day last Thursday.
According to her, statistics showed that diabetes was spreading and growing so quickly among Ghanaians and so there was the need for a national strategy to fight the disease.
Mrs Denyoh, who is also the West African Chairperson of the International Diabetes Association (IDA), was speaking at a national durbar to celebrate World Diabetes Day at Apam in the Gomoa West District in the Central Region.
The celebration, which was on the theme: “Your family and Diabetes”, was preceded with a procession through the principal streets of the town amid brass band music by students of the Apam Senior High School.
The president of the Diabetes Association noted that just as the government had instituted control programmes for malaria and HIV/AIDS, same must be done for diabetes which had affected over a quarter of the Ghanaian population so that there would be a concerted effort to deal with the disease.
Foot care centre
Mrs Denyoh called for the setting up of foot care centres to take care of diabetic patients so that even if they lost their legs to the disease, the centre would be able to provide them with special care to prolong their lives.
“Ghana needs to train nurses specifically and other health workers on diabetes education so that they can help intensify public education on the disease,” she said.
Diabetes has no cure
She noted that although there was no cure for the disease, some traditional medicine practitioners had manufactured herbal products and selling to vulnerable diabetic patients which often compounded their conditions.
She, therefore, called on the Ministry of Health and the Food and Drugs Authority to be vigilant and clamp down on such individuals to save the lives of the patients.
Review of NHIS package
A Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Alexander K. Abban, said the ministry was considering adding the treatment of diabetes and other life-threatening diseases to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as part of a review of the package.
He stated that the government had not taken any decision on it yet, but would have to do a cost-benefit analysis to ensure its sustainability.
Mr Abban said the effects of the disease on patients and their families were so great that once a person was diagnosed of the disease, whether poor or rich, it automatically became one’s death sentence.
He cautioned the public against the consumption of junk foods since such foods contributed to the spread of the disease.
The Deputy Central Regional Director in charge of Public Health of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Kwabena Sarpong, called on Ghanaians to eat more vegetables and fruits, drink more water and reduce the intake of sugar, salt and oil, among others, to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.
He indicated that the GHS with support from relevant stakeholders would continue to promote awareness of diabetes and its complications to control the disease across the country.
For her part, the Brand Manager of Lucozade Ghana and West Africa, Mrs Gloria Ofori, called for deliberate measures to create awareness of the disease in the country.
She said her outfit would continue to assist the Ghana Diabetes Association to educate Ghanaians on the dangers of the disease.
The Chief of Apam, Obotantim Edu Effrim X, who chaired the event, called for more effort towards prevention of the disease.