The government is developing innovative ways to raise funds to finance health care, particularly Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The outbreak COVID-19 pandemic, the government said, drew much of its attention at the expense of other diseases such as NCDs, which were equally affecting Ghanaians with immediate and grave future socio-economic consequences.
The government, therefore, urged corporate Ghana to contribute to the health and well-being of Ghanaians by helping to reverse the worrying trend of NCDs in the country.
In a speech read on his behalf at the International Strategic Dialogue Meeting on NCDs in Accra on Tuesday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said Non-Communicable Diseases require visibility.
The President called on African Presidents to join him to establish a Presidential Group to think about how to raise the issues of NCDs within the roadmap of Universal Health Coverage and the SDGs.
Available data from the NCD programme of the Ghana Health Service reveals that averagely, 1 out of 5 patients who visited Out-Patient Departments (OPD) was diagnosed with one form of NCD or the other.
According to the data, 16 per cent of OPD attendance in 2017 were diagnosed with an NCD. That rose to 19.7 per cent in 2021.
Reported counts of selected NCDs at the OPD in the last five years —from 2017 to 2021– were hypertension, diabetes, Mellitus, road traffic accidents, asthma, stroke, depression, breast cancer and cervical cancer.
President Akufo-Addo said the current health statistics were clear that Ghana needed to redouble its collective efforts to reverse the trend.
That, he said, was the reason the government, through the Ministry of Health and its agencies and partners, revised the National NCD Policy with its accompanied Strategy for the Prevention and Control of NCDs from 2022 to 2026.
That policy framework, President Akufo-Addo indicated, provided the direction and guidance for all NCD interventions in the country and perfectly aligned with the overarching policy framework for health.
To ensure a sustainable impact in the fight against NCDs on the continent, President Akufo-Addo said African governments needed to redefine their national development philosophy to achieve the highest quality of life for their people.
He emphasised the need to activate a multi-sectoral governance framework for broader health determinants to form an integral part of their national planning.
All those, President Akufo-Addo stated, required strong leadership and a coordinated multi-stakeholders engagement both at governmental and non-governmental levels.
He said the fight against NCDs could be won with the active participation of citizens, especially individuals committing to a better lifestyle modification.
The President urged Africans and other low-to-middle-income countries to help reverse the worrying trend of NCDs in their respective countries.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD