Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are growing pandemic gaining deep roots in every country in the world. All countries across the globe lose a large percentage of it citizens through NCDs. It is estimated that globally 41 million people die from NCDs. This means little or no attention is given to NCDs and people living with NCDs (PLWNCDs) hence the high mortality rate.
In our country Ghana, the situation on NCDs is no different. Every year the country loses about 94,400 citizens to NCDs such as diabetes, cancers, hypertension, and chronic respiratory diseases among others. As a matter of fact majority of the citizens have little or no information on NCDs, their root causes, the tragic disadvantages and remedies as well as preventive measures. This can be attributed to the fact that there is lack of commitment on the part of health professionals to effectively inform and educate the masses on NCDs.
How do we get government to fully incorporate issues of NCDs in its national agenda?
The Global Week for Action on NCDs is an important activity on the calendar of the global NCD Alliance which brings the voices of people living with NCDs and partners, families and friends, health professionals, governments and the entire NCD community to speak and share thoughts under a particular theme to affect changes that are beneficial to the well-being of all persons. The week also aims to mount extensive pressure on government to ensure that accesses to health delivery for PLWNCDs are prioritized.
The themes for each year’s week for action are carefully crafted to bring about some commitment from all.
As a person living with an NCD (motor sensory neuropathy), I find the theme for this year’s Global Week for Action on NCD- ‘Accountability’ very essential to the NCD movement. We need to hold government accountable on issues of NCDs just as it’s done to every other sector.
Areas such as human rights and social justice of persons living with NCDs, prevention of NCDs through practical and pragmatic steps, building better support systems and meaningfully involving persons living with NCDs in decision making bodies that directly affect us must be accounted for by government. Unfortunately this has not been the case and the time has come for these leaders to answer.
The youth must equally be protected from industry’s manipulation and products leading to NCDs. In this century, harmful industries such as tobacco, alcohol and sweetened beverage companies target the youth to lure them into consuming their unhealthy products.
The tobacco industry for instance has invented diverse strategies such as the use of nice attractive colours to deceive the youth. Covid-19 restrictions has exposed most of us to unhealthy commodities, we spend hours on our television set and surfing the internet, unfortunately these unhealthy commodity industry also took advantage of the covid-19 restrictions to also sell their products online.
As a young girl in my youthful stages in life I find this development very disheartening and the mere fact that government is adamant of the development makes the situation extra sad. We need to secure the future of our youth.
It should be collective and collaborative efforts to put governments on their toes. We need to intensify our advocacy and ensure that government Act on NCDs just as it should. Imagine a country having ninety percent of the youth suffering from NCD. Where lies the future of that country?
“A global week of action means A WEEK OF GLOBAL ACTION. Our voices can no longer be silenced. The world must heed to the call for NCD financing and meaningful involvement of persons living with NCDs. COVID-19 revealed it all. The time to ACT is NOW” #ActOnNcds
Article by: Christopher Agbega of Our Views, Our Voices Global Advisory Committee & Stella Nagertey, NCDs youth advocate, Ghana NCD Alliance