The Ghana high level meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) came off on 7th August 2018 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Accra, Ghana. In attendance was the Minister of Planning and chair of inter-ministerial committee: implementation of the UN SDGs, Dr. Eugene Owusu, Special advisor to the President on SDGs; Dr. Kyei-Faried, Director, Disease Control and Prevention and tobacco control focal person Ghana Health Service, as well as other ministerial executives, member civil society organizations and the media.
Non-communicable diseases affect people. People everywhere in every country, rich and poor, old and young, in cities and in villages, the privileged and the vulnerable. Every year, over 40 million people die because of NCDs. However many lives can be saved if action is taken now. It is unacceptable that millions still live in environments that promote disease over health, that millions everyday are denied access to life-saving treatment and care, and that millions are denied dignity and their human right to live long and healthy lives.
Presentations were made on scaling up national action for the prevention and control of NCDs in Ghana, why the SDGs matter, and the imperative of addressing NCDs, and advancing NCD response from CSOs perspective. There was also a keynote address from the Minister of Health delivered by his representative.
Christopher Agbega, volunteer advocacy officer for Sharecare Ghana made a two minute intervention touching on personal experiences and strides made by countries like India to combat the surge of NCDs.
“We are on the brink of a major upset; one that will halt the progress of the entire nation. One that will reach the very core of our minds and leave us thinking: What did we miss? What did we overlook? In our quest for growth and development, did we care to investigate the kinds of products we were allowing into our country and unto our markets? To the FDA and regulatory authorities, we know you exist, but we can’t help but wonder…”, he said
He concluded by stating clearly that the NCD community has had enough of “well structured speeches” and sweet words.
“We need your commitments and interventions. We need your participation in all NCD related activities. Above all we need the meaningful involvement of PLWNCDs at the helm of affairs to adopt smart fiscal policies that promote health, boost NCD investment, step up action on child related health issues such as Cerebral Palsy and Obesity and save lives through equitable access to NCD treatment”.