Participants after the opening ceremony
Participants after the opening ceremony

WHO sponsors national survey on NCDs

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is supporting Ghana to conduct a nationwide survey on the risk factors of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) as part of efforts to reduce the public health burden in the country.


Partners in the survey include the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ghana Statistical Service.

Consequently, the two partners have begun a five-day training workshop for selected data collectors to enable them to understand the purpose of the survey and be able to use the mix of tools to be used for the survey for effective and accurate delivery of data.


The WHO will be using its STEPwise approach to NCD risk factor surveillance (STEPS), a simple, standardised method for collecting, analysing and disseminating data on key NCD risk factors in countries.

The survey instrument covers key behavioural risk factors: tobacco use, alcohol use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, as well as key biological risk factors; overweight and obesity, blood pressure, raised blood glucose and abnormal blood lipids.

 The GHS data suggests a steady rise in the prevalence of NCDs, such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes and cancers and have been identified among the top four causes of mortality locally and globally.

It is estimated that 31 per cent of disease burden in the country are due to NCDs.

However, stakeholders say there is no comprehensive nationwide data for management and control of risk factors, making the survey very critical.

Speaking at the opening ceremony yesterday, the Country Representative of the WHO, Dr Francis Kasolo, said the survey was to establish a baseline on the prevalence of NCD risk factors in the country to help better guide planning, monitoring and evaluation of efforts at NCD.


He said the survey instrument covered the key behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, use of alcohol and tobacco; eating unhealthy diets, second-hand smoking, obesity, overweight and raised blood glucose.

“In this regard, I am pleased that Ghana is undertaking this important survey this year to really drive evidence-based policy decisions and interventions towards Ghana’s achievement of the global NCDs target and Universal Health Coverage,” he said.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said over the last few decades, there had been a number of national publications and reports on the steady rise of the risk factors of NCDs such as unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use.


Dr Kuma-Aboagye said various attempts to conduct such a nationwide survey had been made and thanked the WHO for making that effort a reality.

“As Ghana strives towards UHC, this survey is timely and will provide crucial information to guide decision-making to better address the NCD risk factors and provide opportunity to better prevent and control NCDs in Ghana.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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