Stakeholders on health have deliberated on awareness creation of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN).
This is in anticipation of a UN high-level meeting on NCDs scheduled to take place in July this year.
The meeting, held in Accra, was organised by Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), a civil society organisation (CSO) that focuses on public health promotion, peace building and good governance.
It was supported by NCD Alliance, a Norwegian Cancer Society and Framework Convention Alliance, also a CSO.
A section of the participants
Some of the stakeholders present at the meeting were the Ghana Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the CSO Platform on SDG, Christian Health Association of Ghana, Ghana Muslim Mission, Stroke Association Support Network-Ghana and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
The Programmes Director of VALD, Mr Labram Massawudu Musah, identified alcohol and tobacco as high risk factors of NCDs that could affect the attainment of 13 out of the 17 goals of the SDGs.
“If you look at the world over, NCDs are becoming one of the biggest problems. NCD is no more the disease of the rich but has now taken a wider perspective. The poor are very much affected because our lifestyles are changing,” he stated.
The director also stated that the use of tobacco and alcohol affected the well-being of people as it caused cancer and other NCDs. It also leads to miscarriages and mental problems among infants.
According to him, the use of alcohol further impoverishes people as research has shown that addicted persons spend about 10 per cent of their income on alcohol or tobacco.
For her part, the National Coordinator of the CSO Platform on SDG, Ms Ugonna Ukaigwe, has called for a redefining of data collection tools on SDGs in order to genuinely assess the progress of the country towards attaining the SDGs.
“We must have a standard that will show us the kind of tools we are expected to use as a country in gathering data to make the outcomes more credible,” she said.
The coordinator expressed optimism that a yet-to-be-launched Data Quality Assurance Framework by the Ghana Statistical Service would allow a synchronisation of all data collected in the country.