Primary healthcare providers build capacity on efficient mgt of NCDs

Primary healthcare providers in selected districts across the country yesterday begun a five-day capacity workshop on efficient management and treatment of non-communicable disease (NCDs).

It is being organised by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reduce the NCD burden in Ghana and promote healthy living among the population.

Launched in September last year, the WHO “Package of Essential NCD Interventions” (PEN) programme aims at incorporating prevention, early detection, prompt treatment and appropriate referral of NCDs into routine care delivered at the primary health care (PHC) level over the next five years.

It targets reducing the spate of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic respiratory diseases on the rise in the country, through the adoption of simple and cost effective strategies available at the PHC to change the status quo.

Making a presentation, a representative of the GHS and Specialist Physician at the KomfoAnokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Dr Yaw Amoako, said the NCD burden accounted for nearly 70 percent of deaths recorded in the country, annually.

“Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, followed by cancers, respiratory disease and diabetes. Every two seconds, someone aged 30 to 70 years dies prematurely from an NCD,” he said.

Dr Amoako noted that over the years, unhealthy lifestyles, psycho-social and environmental factors as well as the low capacity of the health system to swiftly diagnose NCDs largely contributed to the surge in diseases.

Admitting that the control of NCDs required a multi-faceted approach, the Specialist Physician said building capacity of human resource at the PHC was crucial to identify the risks and vulnerabilities to offer quality care and reduce the disease burden.

The WHO, NCD Focal Person, MrPreboBarango in remark said despite NCDs being widely rooted among the population, deliberate efforts at reducing the burden had been slow.

“NCDs have been a major cause of death on the sub-region and for the past two years since COVID-19 struck, NCD patients have been more at risk of deaths from the virus because over the years we have talked more than taking action on these conditions,” he stated.

Mr Barango expressed the hope that the PEN project would help to streamline and provide standardised care on NCDs across all levels of the healthcare system.

For her part, the Ayawaso West DistrictMunicipal Director of Health, Dr Louisa Matey, advised members of the public to adopt healthy eating habits and food choices to reduce risk to NCDs.

She particularly cautioned against intake of fatty, salty and processed foods but rather eat more fruits and vegetables to promote longevity.

“A healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms as well as NCDs including diabetes, heart diseases, stroke and cancers and for a person with NCDs, it is important that a nutritionist or dietician is involved in the management of their conditions,” she urged.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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