President John Agyekum Kufuor challenged the Health Ministry to lead public education on lifestyle diseases, which now accounted for many deaths in the country.
Hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cancers were becoming prevalent as the structure of the economy changed for the better, a development, which had brought with it lifestyles that were disposing an increasing number of people to these diseases, he noted.
President Kufuor, who was opening the first Ghana International Health Fair, said by adopting preventive health care, visits to the hospitals could be significantly brought down.
It was on the basis of this that promotion of healthy lifestyles and environmental improvements had become key components of the Government's new health policy, President Kufuor said.
He described Ghana's life expectancy rate of 57 years, as "low" and therefore the need for special interventions for improvement.
"This is very urgent in the face of the country's development vision of attaining middle income status within the next decade."
President Kufuor spoke of the Government's determination to continue to invest in the health sector to ensure that people in all parts of the country had access to quality and affordable health-care and emergency services when required.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), he said, had been established as the national "safety net" for all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
About 43 per cent of Ghanaians have already been registered under the scheme.
President Kufuor said for efficient management of the NHIS, the Government had secured a 15 million-dollar loan from the World Bank to equip it with ICT solutions.
Besides, 19 Ambulance Stations had been established with an ultra-modern Accidents and Emergency Service Centre nearing completion at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
He also outlined a number of measures taken to stem the flow of health professionals to other countries and mentioned steady improvement of their conditions of service through provision of incentive packages like car and housing loans.
The upgrading of health sector infrastructure, he said, remained on course and announced that 23 dental facilities would soon be inaugurated nation-wide.
Accommodation for health workers was to go up by 180 flats by the end of the year, while the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons would also be ready by the end of December, President Kufuor said.
Additionally, the Gushegu Hospital was scheduled for completion this year while the Government was almost through with negotiations with the Dutch for the rehabilitation of the Tamale Government Hospital.
President Kufuor said: "To us development is founded on healthy citizenry, which is the key to high productivity."
Health Minister, Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), said the focus was to re-position health in the centre of economic development, since the nation needed healthy people to create wealth.