Media must be passionate about NCDs , mental health issues  – Dr Mavis Sakyi

Dr Mavis Sakyi, the Acting Head of Pub­lic Health and Health Promotion of the Ministry of Health, has urged the media to be passionate on issues of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and mental health to create platforms for financial support for awareness creation.

She said NCD rates such as cancers, respira­tory disease, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, eye diseases, among others, and mental health were becoming alarming and could lead to the next pandemic in the country.

She stated that about 54 per cent of deaths were caused by NCDs and there was the need for agenda setting on the issue by the media in the print, online, social media, television, and radio for financial dialogue to support aware­ness creation.

Dr Sakyi advised at a day’s capacity-building seminar for media professionals and mem­bers of civil society organisations on NCD and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) on the theme: “Accelerating UHC through the 2 Global Finan­cial Dialogue on NCDs and Mental Health”.

Mr Labram Musah, the National Coordinator of the Ghana NCD Alliance in a presentation called on the government to earmark a per­centage of the excise tax revenue for NCDs and mental healthcare.

He said more than 60 per cent of people living with NCDs face a financial burden, which results from out-of-pocket payment costs of medicine, outpatient visits, and hospitalisation, among others.

“This had led persons, families and commu­nities into poverty,” he stated.

Mr Musah entreated the government to remove subsidies on harmful products such as tobacco, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans-fats, and the rest to prevent diseases.

He said; “It is estimated that 3.1 million Ghanaians are living with mental health issues, and globally, it is estimated that 15 million lives a year will be ended prematurely because of NCD and mental health.

“Treatment costs also increase exponen­tially in the case of multi-morbidities, which is becoming more of a norm rather than an excep­tion,” he stated, saying; “NCD is cross-cutting and has dire consequences on many communi­cable diseases.

He said the catastrophic spending on the diseases had contributed to many households adopting negative coping mechanisms that in­cluded reduced spending on other health costs, food, education, and the rest. – GNA

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