The World Health Organisation (WHO) has moved to support Ghana in its efforts to improve prevention and control of diabetes as a growing public health threat.
Under its Global Diabetes Compact, the WHO in collaboration with the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) is seeking to accelerate the fight against diabetes which currently affects 2.4 million Ghanaians by promoting access to equitable, comprehensive, affordable and quality treatment and care.
In line with national non-communicable disease (NCD) polices, it is expected that over the next two years, at least 60 per cent of diabetics are diagnosed, 60 per cent have good control of glucose and their blood pressure and at least 40 per cent of people with diabetes who are 40 years or older, receive statins; a group of drugs which act to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Also, under the WHO-WDF support, Ghana is expected to attain 100 per cent coverage of all persons with type-one diabetes having access to affordable insulin and blood glucose self-monitoring equipment by 2025.
At a high-level meeting in Accra yesterday, the WHO Country Representative, Dr Francis Kasolo, said, Ghana was chosen together with Uganda to implement the “joint integrative project” because of a strong commitment shown for the fight against NCDs and the 2023 agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“There is need for increased access to diagnostic tools to determine the true extent of NCDs and diabetes if we are to appreciate the true burden of the condition.
Left unchecked and without management and lifestyle changes, diabetes can lead to several complications and while we live in the COVID-19 era, it’s been shown that people with diabetes are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms and death,” he said.
Dr Kasolo noted that if fully implemented, the project would contribute to reducing the number of deaths and disability resulting from diabetes and improve the quality of life of persons living with type one and two diabetes.
He advised members of the public to adopt healthy eating habits combined with regular exercising, avoid tobacco smoking, maintain healthy weight and limit alcohol consumption.
The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu in a remark, noted that although about seven per cent of Ghana’s adult population has type-2 diabetes, a larger number could be living with the condition and undiagnosed.
He said the WHO-WDF support was timely to address the threat, reduce the disease burden and improve access to diabetes care and treatment.
“We must prioritise the prevention, care, and management of diabetes in Ghana and support the goals of the WHO Global Diabetes Compact and Ghana remains committed to ensuring the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases including diabetes,” he stated.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH