Stakeholders at the NCDs meeting
The government has called for stronger collaboration among stakeholders in implementing measures aimed at preventing and managing Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Speaking at the 6th National High-Level Meeting on NCDs in Accra, Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf said the government has rolled out various measures to increase access to care for persons living with NCDs in the country.
He noted, for instance that the treatment of NCDs including mental health has been added to the National Health Insurance Scheme package during its recent review. He further indicated the need for awareness creation through knowledge sharing since most NCDs are linked to lifestyle choices.
Neurologist, African Academy of Neurology, Dr. Augustina Charway-Felli, speaking on the topic, “Building A Coordinated Front To Bridge The NCD Response Gaps, To Achieve Universal Health Coverage In Ghana”, said NCDs including mental health must be treated as public health problem that needs urgent attention.
She said it was time the government shifted its NCDs concept from curative to prevention calling for the education of all levels of health care practitioners from medical to allied health professionals and the population. He highlighted that not only is prevention of NCDs better than cure, it is also cheaper than cure.
Chairperson, Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA), Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai, said the conference is to elevate the NCD challenge for national visibility and response.
She said the event being held after the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UN HLM 2023) provides an opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on the key outcomes of the UN, in unison with WHO’s 75th Anniversary themed, “Health for All”.
She encouraged stakeholders to extensively engage to fashion a direction for the national response guided by the National Health Policy, National NCD Policy, and the National NCD Strategy.
Outlining the progress made, GhNCDA national coordinator, Labram Musah, said the alliance has built the capacities of CSOs and persons living with NCDs as well as increased education of NCDs risk factors. Going forward, he said the GhNCDA is looking at expanding its network of persons living NCDs to more regions.
The 2023 meeting was in collaborating with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Ghana, with support from PharmAccess and World Vision Ghana.
The event brought together relevant national stakeholders from government, development partners, civil society organisations, relevant private sector, patient advocacy groups, academia and researchers, media, trade unions, medical professionals, people living with NCDs, and the youth, among others.
It was on the theme, “Building a Coordinated Front to Bridge the NCD and Mental Health Response Gaps to Achieve Universal Health Coverage in Ghana”.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri