The Ministry of Health has inaugurated the Multisectoral National Steering Committee for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a body required to provide strategic guidance and oversee country implementation of NCDs projects and interventions.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Mr Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, inaugurated the Committee on behalf of the Minister for Health, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, and described the event as a step towards the realisation of a healthy population for national development through a reduction in the burden of Non-communicable diseases.
He said available data from research in Ghana suggests that NCDs and their associated risk factors were on the ascendancy as a result of ageing, rapid urbanization and unhealthy lifestyle.
The Chief Director disclosed that the Ministry and its agencies in collaboration with key stakeholders have developed policies for the prevention and control of NCDs in Ghana.
The NCDs policy action, according to the Chief Director, is in line with the revised National Health Policy and the Universal Health Coverage Roadmap of Ghana.
Mr Oku-Afari, therefore, underlined the need for instituting the Multisectoral National Steering Committee for Non-Communicable Diseases to oversee the implementation of the NCD policy.
The WHO Representative in Ghana, Dr Francis Kasolo said the burden of NCDs across the world has increased exponentially over the past 20 years and has become the lead cause of deaths in most countries resulting in over 200 million premature deaths amongst persons aged 30 -70 years.
The global challenge of NCDs has become an issue of public discourse to further strengthen efforts to address NCDs as part of Universal Health Coverage, recognising that people living with NCDs are at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19.
Dr. Kasolo pointed out that NCDs undermines the progress to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contribute to worsening levels of poverty, and called on families, CSOs, academia, religious institutions, inter-governmental organizations, the media, policymakers, voluntary associations, traditional medical practitioners and the private sector to effectively address the burden and the emerging threat of NCDs.
He urged the committee members to play their respective roles to promote change to improve the social and physical environment as well as enable progress against NCDs.