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NCDs: The Number 1 Killer Diseases that Require Govt’s Urgent Attention.


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NCDs: The Number 1 Killer Diseases that Require Govt’s Urgent Attention.

A country where Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) account for 54% of total deaths is one that can be said to be neglecting the very essential elements for attaining universal Health Coverage (UHC).

It is important to note that the impacts of diseases particularly NCDs have far-reaching consequences, including setbacks in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the Goal Three, which is about “Good health and wellbeing.
Frequent deaths arising out of NCDs could reverse gains made in many years of progress in attaining SDG 3.
NCDs are not transmitted from one affected person to another. The major NCDs in Ghana include cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, heart disease and stroke), chronic respiratory diseases (such as asthma, COPD and bronchitis), diabetes and cancers among others.

According to data from the Ghana Health Service NCDs kill an estimated 86,200 persons in Ghana each year with 55.5% of them aged less than 70 years and 58% of males being affected.

The age standardized NCD death rate is 817 per 100,000 for males and 595 per 100,000 for females
It is the reason financing of the NCDs has become very critical in the healthcare sector across the globe, strengthening the resilience of healthcare systems and providing escape routes to fighting those diseases.

You would recall that during the peak of Covid-19 outbreak, the government passed the covid-19 Health Recovery Levy Act 2021 (ACT 1068) to generate more funds to fight the pandemic. However the covid-19 pandemic was not the only disease of public health concern.

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Suffice to state that during the covid-19 pandemic, the country recorded other disease outbreaks such as polio, cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) and yellow fever which also spread quickly resulting in loss of lives especially in the case of the CSM and yellow fever.

Against this background that government does not have a reliable source of funds to support its integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) plan particularly NCDs, it was therefore necessarily prudent for government to amend the Covid-19 Health recovery Levy Act to broaden its scope to serve as a source of revenue in financing NCDs in the country.

This same NCD financing challenges occasioned a capacity building workshop for the media and CSOs, under the theme: “Accelerating UHC Through the 2nd Global Financing Dialogue on NCDs and Mental Health”.

The workshop which was organized by Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA with support from NCD’s Advocacy Institute Accelerator Track Programme and Leona M. Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and PRINPAG, saw Acting Head of Public Health and Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health Dr. Mavis Sakyi bemoaning the lack of funding for NCDs and re-iterated that NCD related deaths accounted for 54% of total deaths a situation she described as serious.

She therefore called for an improved efficiency, equity and better prioritization of NCDs in public health budgets.

This she said is the only surest way of nipping in the bud the menace.

The National Co-ordinator of GhNCDA, Mr. Labaram Musah on his part stressed that since 2018, there has been discussions for Ghana to up its game as far as NCD financing is concerned.

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He said ahead of the high level WHO Global Dialogue on Partnerships for Sustainable Financing of NCD prevention and control, Ghana needs to look inwardly and adopt strategies to deal with the NCD financing challenges.

He argued that countries have adopted innovative means of dealing with challenges in the health care system.

Mr. Labaram therefore appealed to government to increase investment in NCDs and mental health through domestic resource mobilization.

His call ties in with my position for government to amend the covid-19 recovery levy to cover the financing of NCDs and mental health.

It is my considered view that NCD and mental health financing challenges would be a thing of the past should government heed to the call for the amendment of covid-19 Recovery Levy Act.

The Writer: Michael Petit Mawugbe (Efo Mawugbe) is a Communications and Media Consultant and Editor of Newsflashafrica.com



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