The Ghana Health Service (GHS) is alarmed at the increased spate of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country, calling on the populace to be more responsible with their lifestyle choices.
Making a case in point of Accra Metropolis in the Greater Accra Region, Acting Programme Manager of the NCDs Control Programme (NCDCP), Dr Afua Commeh, said from 2019 till date, over 29,000 cases of hypertension had been recorded within the city.
“For Diabetes, the metropolis in 2019 recorded 4,200 cases, in 2020, 4,385, and as of end of September this year, 3,330 have been reported which means we are likely to hit 4,000 by end of year and this is just one metropolitan so you can imagine the figures nationwide,” she said, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times at a dissemination meeting on a digital tool being developed by the GHS to address the surge.
The “NCD Digital Tool” to be piloted in the Accra Metropolitan and Ga Central Districts from November this year, would allow for data collection and information sharing on NCDs to provide early treatment and promote healthy living among persons suffering a condition.
The medium, targeting conditions including hypertension, diabetes, asthma and cancer, would also empower members of the public to make the right health choices to avoid contracting NCDs.
Dr Commeh said the majority of persons contracting NCDs in recent times were young people between the ages of 18 and 45 with a gradual rise in the number of children being diagnosed on one condition or the other.
“Some of the children are born with it and others are picking them up as they grow and this is alarming. We must take our lifestyles choices more seriously now than ever and the fact that these diseases are becoming normalised is of great worry.
“The sooner we wake up and take action on them, the better. From the home to our schools, we must watch what we eat, do physical activities, avoid alcohol and tobacco and other lifestyles that increase the risk for NCDs.”
The Programmes Manager said the neglect of NCDs over the years was “coming back to haunt us as a nation” judging from the many people who have died from COVID-19 due to underlying conditions like hypertension and diabetes.
“It has become necessary in that as we are all going about and chasing after COVID-19, our chronic disease also seems to be chasing after us.
Unfortunately for us, since the pandemic took off in 2020 till date, our death toll gets worst by the day and over 90 per cent of them are as a result of these chronic diseases,” she stated.
Dr Commeh entreated stakeholders at the meeting to be ambassadors of healthy living in their respective communities urging Ghanaians as well to frequent the hospitals for regular check-ups to pick up diseases in time and promote longevity.
The Health Promotion Officer of Accra Metro, Andrew Abbey, urged stakeholders to help in awareness creation on NCDs.
Responding to poor reception and attitude of some health staff during check-ups, Mr Abbey, asked individuals to report any wrong attitude by any health worker to the heads of the various health institutions, to encourage the habit of regular check-ups, among Ghanaians.