Increase in hypertension, diabetes cases in Accra Metro

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has sounded an alarm about the high incidence of hypertension and diabetes among the public, including children, within the Accra Metro space since the local outbreak of COVID-19.

The acting Director of the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Directorate of the GHS, Dr. Efua Commeh, said 11,046 cases of hypertension were recorded in 2019, while 9,248 were recorded in 2020, with more than 9,250 cases recorded already this year.

At a community sensitisation meeting with NCD stakeholders in Accra yesterday, Dr. Commeh said the cases of diabetes were equally alarming, with 4,201 cases recorded in 2019, rising to 4,385 in 2020 and 3,231 already this year.

The meeting also involved the introduction of an NCD digital tool for tracking NCDs among the population.

Dr. Commeh blamed the health situation of people on lifestyle and added that the conditions as recorded at the health facilities were only a tip of the iceberg.

All these lifestyle changes, she said, were risk factors which included the lack of physical exercise, late night eating, alcohol, tobacco use among others.

Underlying conditions

Dr. Commeh said what was more worrying was that children as young as under five years were also recording cases of NCDs such as hypertension, diabetes, cancers, cardiac diseases, anaemia and sickle cell disease.

She said since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 90 per cent of all the deaths recorded were persons who had underlying conditions.
Presently, she said people as young as 29 and 32 years were having diabetes and stroke respectively in the metropolis.

She said it was worrying that although these diseases were manageable, people refused to seek help because they were not ready to change their lifestyle habits.

She, therefore, called for more education among the public to ensure that people got to know their status to take the appropriate actions such as adopting healthy lifestyles.

Digital space

In a presentation on the new tracking app, the Health Information Officer on NCDs, Mr. Isaac Tandoh, said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown that the world needed to move into the digital space and that the introduction of the app would help people to seek information on their health.

He mentioned some of the core features of the app to include a bio-data directory of all persons living with NCDs, details of all subscribers for NCDs information and materials, as well as message development and broadcast to persons living with specific NCDs, among others.

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