DIABETES medication must be covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to reduce high prevalence of the disease amongst the poor in society, the President of the National Diabetes Association (NDA) – Ghana, Mrs. Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, has appealed.
She said current reports indicate that most diabetic patients were from the rural areas and people who could not afford treatment, hence the need for government to subsidise diabetic care to save victims from possible death.
“Currently, there is no subsidy on diabetic products so, averagely, you will spend about GH¢200.00 to GH¢350.00 a month if you are diabetic, only on medication. The products are not covered in NHIS so the poor patient has to go and buy outside which may sometimes be inferior”, she noted.
Mrs. Denyoh was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a health walk last Saturday, to create awareness on measures to take to reduce diabetes as a build up to the commemoration of this year’s World Health Diabetes Day on April 7.
Dubbed “Stay super, beat diabetes”, the seven-kilometre walk through some principal streets of Accra, was organised by the NDA, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health with sponsorship from Ecobank.
According to her, three million people currently lived with diabetes in the country with increasing numbers among the youth, adding that one out of every nine people was suffering from the disease, resulting in 34 per cent of deaths annually.
She attributed the alarming rate to urbanisation, change in lifestyles, irregular exercise, ignorance and poor eating habits saying, “previously, we used to walk a lot and eat our local foods but now we live sedentary and diabetes thrive when there is lack of activity, obesity and poor eating habits”.
She urged Ghanaians to practise healthy eating habits, exercise regularly, check sugar levels periodically, avoid smoking and too much intake of alcohol and take medications as prescribed in case one is diagnosed with the disease.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative for Ghana, Dr. Owen Kaluwa said this year’s World Health Day was focused on diabetes because of its increasing cases, especially in lower and middle income countries.
He said diabetes could be minimised in the sub-region if awareness creation on preventive habits was intensified, adding that, “If we improve on our lifestyles, we will stay super to beat diabetes”.
Other activities to mark the 2016 World Health Diabetes Day include free medical screenings across the country, symposium and talks with corporate entities on the need to incorporate health activities into their calendar to protect people from falling victims to the disease.
By Abigail Annoh