The Ghana Health Service (GHS), on Monday organised a stakeholder sensitization meeting in Accra to introduce a new digital platform for sharing information and receiving feedback on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The digital platform, which was developed and hosted by the Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme (NCDCP), forms part of the efforts by the GHS to employ technology to leverage on the health care delivery system, to make it more resilient to epidemics.
Dr Efua Commeh, the Acting Programme Manager, Non-Communicable Diseases, GHS, in an address, said NCDs both nationally and globally, were among the top four chronic diseases with high morbidity and mortality rates, and they resulted from a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors.
She said NCDs included heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, they often tend to be of long duration, therefore screening was highly important to ensure early detection, prevention and treatment.
Dr Commeh encouraged the public to adopt healthy lifestyles by eating healthy foods, ensuring regular exercising and adequate sleep, avoiding tobacco use, as well as the excessive intake of alcohol, while improving their health care-seeking behaviours through routine medical screening.
Mr Isaac Tandoh, an NCDCP Officer, said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown the importance of connecting clients, patients and the user to service providers remotely, explaining that the NCD digital tool, was all about communication.
He said among the benefits of the tool were the sharing of knowledge and information on all kinds of diseases and receiving feedbacks to questions on chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancers and asthma, and encouraged all stakeholders to subscribe to the Application to be able to access these benefits.
Mr Gilbert Mawufemor Komla Ashong, a Consultant for the GHS, gave a demonstration on how the digital platform could be used either by subscribing through the NCDCP website via an internet application, which was available only on smartphones, laptops and computers, saying collaborations were on-going with the Telcos, for extension of access on all other mobile phones sets.
He said the focus of the App. among other objectives was to connect with and develop a biodata on Persons Living with NCDs for constant engagement for a sustainable treatment regime, have a detailed repository of subscribers for NCD information and materials, ensure message development and broadcast on specific NCDs and collect feedback.
He said the digital tool was still in its design stage and would be piloted within the Accra Metro and the Ga Central Districts before the final roll-out nationally and called for further impute from stakeholders for its perfection.
Mr Ashong encouraged all stakeholders especially community volunteers to help expand education on the use of the new digital tool within their respective communities and urged the media to do same to help reduce the rate of NCDs in Ghana.
Dr Esi Turkson Cofie, Director of Metropolitan Health Service, GHS, stated that apart from COVID-19, there were other diseases that affected the population that were not being taken seriously.
He appealed to all stakeholders including traditional leaders to support and intensify education on NCDs and the use of the digital tool within their communities for enhanced service delivery.