The Ghana NCD Alliance, in collaboration with the Institute of Leadership and Development (INSLA), has embarked on COVID-19 education within five municipalities in the Greater Accra Region to help contain the spread of the disease.It also sought views from people living with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) on their needs, challenges, and abuse of rights before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was on the theme: “Have Your Say; Your Voice – Your Power: People living with NCDs are at HIGHER RISK of COVID-19.”
The exercise is being carried out in Ayawaso East, Ayawaso Central, Ayawaso North, Okaikwei North and the La-Nkwantanang municipalities.
“This will help keep government informed and guide it in implementing strategies to strengthen Ghana’s response to NCDs and COVID-19 and uphold the rights of people living with NCDs,” Mr Benjamin Anabila, the Director of INSLA, said.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday, Mr Anabila said the two institutions’ goals were geared towards the well-being of persons with non-communicable diseases, and thus deemed it right to educate them on the need to practice good lifestyles.
“President Nana Akufo-Addo, in his speech on the coronavirus, made mention of diabetes, hypertension, and liver diseases among other NCDs, which are some of the underlying factors to the COVID-19 mortality, so we have taken it upon ourselves to educate the public on these issues,” he said.
Mr Anabila said this would help those living with the disease to be extra careful and ensure that they obeyed and followed the protective measures to avoid contracting the virus.
Mr Issa Ali, the Executive Director of Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), said smoking, excessive intake of alcoholic beverages, sugar, salt, saturated and oily foods were some of the agents that facilitated hypertension, diabetes and liver diseases.
He said those who practised such lifestyles were highly vulnerable to COVID-19 and urged them to avoid such habits.
He said because NCDs could not be cured, practicing good lifestyles could help people live with them for a long time.
”So what we are saying is that those living with the NCDs, especially diabetic, cancer and stroke patients, should be given free space to avoid being infected with the coronavirus because their immune systems are already weak and if care is not taken we would be losing them,” he said.
“NCDs kill 94,400 Ghanaians annually according to the WHO. Government must prioritise NCDs in its national health agendas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with chronic diseases and NCDs such as diabetes, cancer, stroke, hypertension, respiratory illness among others are at higher risk of severe complications and death from COVID-19.”
“People living with NCDs are likely to face disruptions in routine treatment, care and support and challenges due to social distancing measures,” he said.