Heads of State must prioritise the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by investing more, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has said.
“As members of the Global Group of Heads of State and Governments, we must continue to raise the priority accorded to the prevention and control of NCDs,” he added.
This was contained in a speech read on behalf of the President by the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, at the Global Group of Heads of State on the prevention and control of NCDs.
The meeting was held on the margins of the ongoing 78th UN General Assembly in Manhattan, New York.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that although 80 per cent of diseases were preventable and modifiable in most cases, NCDs such as cancer, diabetes, heart or lung diseases remained the leading causes of death globally.
The President is the co-chair of the Group which meets annually to build momentum and engage global leaders to take ownership of the NCD agenda on the road to the fourth High-level Meeting on NCDs in 2025.
The second meeting, among others, was to deliberate on the Global NCD Compact 2020-2030 and showcase national and international actions on NCDs and SDGs.
President Akufo-Addo said the Global NCD Compact 2020–2030 was aimed at accelerating progress on the prevention and control of NCDs.
The compact has established that every minute, 28 people die prematurely from NCDs such as cancer, diabetes, heart or lung diseases because countries have not taken the policy, legislative and regulatory measures available to them to address the world’s biggest causes of death seriously.
“Despite being the world’s largest cause of death, NCDs continue to receive one to two per cent of all official development assistance for health.
“Let us continue to engage each other on this very important agenda; align our priorities to the Global Action Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases, invest adequately to priorities and agreed actions and account as stewards to the populations we serve,” the President said.
He further said that NCDs continued to be a public health threat that required a concerted effort, more investments and prioritisation to put countries back on course towards achieving global targets.
“As we inch towards 2030, we need to commit to developing practicable and ambitious national responses to the overall implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the President added.
The Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that “every year, 17 million people under the age of 70 die prematurely because of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases or mental health conditions”.
He expressed gratitude to President Akufo-Addo for being what he described as a true champion of NCDs.
“We hope many other countries will join Ghana and other members of the global NCD compact.
Your leadership is more important than ever,” Dr Ghebreyesus added.
He said almost one in four people globally still used tobacco; one in four adults did not do enough physical activity, while obesity and hypertension were rising around the world.
“As members of the Global Group of Heads of State and Government for NCDs, you are on the frontline to accelerate and scale up efforts to prevent and control NCDs and mental health conditions and achieve universal health coverage in your countries,” he said.
Writer’s email: Doreen.andoh