A World Bank report has indicated that if urgent action is not taken, the rising Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) burden will add pressure to the already overstretched health systems and pose a major challenge to development in the sub-region.
The Minister for Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, disclosed this at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) on STOP NCD in Accra on Tuesday.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the prevalence of NCDs is increasing globally and is currently the leading cause of death and disease burden worldwide.
He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicated that heart diseases, stroke, cancers, diabetes and respiratory diseases are the top killers globally, accounting for about 74% of all deaths.
The Minister said West African Sub-region requires employing a scientific approach to improve the health and well-being of the population.
He stated that the scientific approach to salvaging the situation would strengthen individual skills and expertise, organizational systems and processes, system-wide networking capabilities and leadership of researchers to conduct high-quality research.
“It will also strengthen local communities to engage with and understand how to enable healthy lifestyles as well as policymakers and practitioners to implement evidence-based NCD interventions,” he added.
The approach, according to the Minister, would also entail engaging stakeholders to solicit their views, preference and expectations and sharing results and facilitating the uptake of research results into their decisions and practices.
“We will also maintain equitable international partnerships, through shared leadership involving senior and earlier-career staff, and equally distributed management responsibilities,” he stated.
Mr Manu disclosed that the high-level research on NCDs is being funded by the United Kingdom and co-led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS).
The research team would include a cluster of research and three academic institutions in West Africa (the Catholic University of West Africa in Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso, LASDEL in Niamey Niger, Ashesi University in Brekusu Ghana, GCPS, and UK LSHTM.
The Minister said the government had launched a National Policy for Non-Communicable Disease to “ensure that the burden of NCDs is reduced to the barest minimum to render it of little or no public health importance and an obstacle to socio-economic development.”
“This is aligned with the ideals of the National Health Policy, 2020, and the Universal Health Coverage Roadmap (2020-2030) which calls for the use of multisectoral collaboration as a mechanism for addressing comprehensively, all the social determinants of health for better health outcomes for all,” he added.
Grace Acheampong, ISD