GHS launches 5-year project on NCDs

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has launched a five-year Project Package of Essential Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Interventions (PEN) aimed at addressing the spate of NCDs in the country.

The project, in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) would empower prescribers and allied health workers on NCD screening, early detection, appropriate management and timely referrals to save patients.

Supported by the Norwegian government, the project is a set of simplified, cost effective strategies for Primary Health Care (PHC) in low resource settings which Ghana is a part of.

Speaking at the launch in Accra on Friday, The Director of Public Health-GHS, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe said globally, NCDs had been recognised as a huge burden to public health and in Ghana these disease conditions continued to increase among the top 10 causes of hospital admissions and deaths.

“These conditions are driven largely by risk factors such as unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol and tobacco use, as well as air pollution, which abound in the country,” he added.

He said to address NCDs, it was essential to adopt diverse and innovative strategies, especially in the phase of global pandemic and limited resources for health, and Ghana was fortunate to benefit from the support.

“I am particularly glad that this support is being provided at this crucial moment in healthcare where health services are burdened with infectious diseases, maternal newborn and child health diseases and more recently COVID-19,” he stated.

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe noted that the project when properly implemented would ensure that both asymptomatic and symptomatic persons were picked up early, monitored and treated where necessary.

He encouraged all stakeholders to put in all efforts to ensure the successful implementation of the Project and thanked the WHO and the Norwegian Government for making the interventions possible.

Dr Efua Commeh, the Acting Programme Manager for NCD-GHS, in a brief presentation of the Project, said although Ghana was no exception to the rise in chronic diseases, the country’s current health systems were facing what could be described as a multiple disease burden, hence the implementation of the PEN, would help strengthen health systems with regards to NCDs in the country.

The Disease Prevention and Control Officer at WHO, Dr Sally Ann Ohene said the vision for the initiative was for every Ghanaian to have equitable access to NCD prevention and control services to reach the target of a 25 per cent relative reduction in the overall mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases and mental health by 2025.

She expressed optimism that the GHS-Regional Health Directorate would own the project and ensured that the objective of improving NCDs services at PHC level was achieved.

Dr Ohene reiterated WHO’s commitment to continue to collaborate with all stakeholders working within the NCDs space in Ghana.

BY VIVIAN ARTHUR

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