Tobacco-related diseases kill more than 6,700 Ghanaians yearly – UNDP

Tobacco-related illnesses kill more than 6,700 Ghanaians every year, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Investment Case for Tobacco Control Report.

This account for three per cent of all deaths in the country.

Mr Ebenezer Ad Adams, Vice Chair of Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA) made this known at the National Forum on Tobacco Taxation in Ghana organised by the Vision for Alternative Development – Ghana (VALD-Ghana) with support from Tax Justice Network Africa.

It was on the theme: ‘Strengthening the Evidence for Effective Tobacco Taxation for Health and Development,’ to underscore the critical intersection of public health policy and evidence-based research.

The forum was aimed at addressing the social, health, environmental, and economic impact of tobacco use through effective taxation while enhancing stakeholders’ capacity to prevent the tobacco industry interference in health policies.

Mr Ad Adams said the GhNCDA had a mission and that it would help to contribute to reducing tobac
co-related illnesses such as non-communicable diseases and disabilities to create a healthy Ghana free of diseases.

‘It is vividly clear that no successes can be chalked if we lose focus on tobacco and its allied accomplices, and that the Alliance looks forward working closely with VALD-Ghana in addressing the tobacco-related issues,’ he stated.

He congratulated Mr Labram Musah, the Executive Director of VALD-Ghana and his team for the laudable initiative.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Tobacco control, crucial for achieving SDGs Target 3.4 – FDA Chief Executive

Madam Delese Mimi Darko, the Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Authority, says tobacco control is crucial for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Target 3.4.

She said the control of the product would help reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one-third by 2030 and that Target 3.a supported this by calling for the strengthening of the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

She noted that beyond health, the measure helps to decrease poverty and inequalities, strengthens economy, and promotes sustainable development.

Madam Darko made the remark at the National Forum on Tobacco Taxation in Ghana on the theme: ‘Strengthening the evidence for Effective Tobacco Taxation for Health and Development in Ghana’ organised by the Vision for Alternative Development – Ghana (VALD-Ghana) in Accra.

She said Ghana, as a party to the WHO FCTC, was committed to various conventions and protocols aimed at controlling tobacco and minimizing its health

‘Article 6 of the WHO FCTC encourages countries to implement price and tax measures, and Ghana is dedicated to this effort. Health taxes on products with negative public health impacts, like tobacco, are a beneficial policy.

‘They advance health equity, prevent disease, save lives, and generate revenue for the general budget. These funds can also support Universal Health Coverage.’ she stated.

The Chief Executive observed that the passage of the Excise Duty Amendment Act, 2023 (Act 1096), marked a significant milestone in tobacco control in Ghana, transitioning from an ad valorem tax structure to a mixed tax structure.

‘Raising taxes on tobacco products increases their price, making them less affordable and preventing youth initiation.

‘Youth and low-income groups benefit the most from these price increases, enjoying both economic and health advantages from quitting or not starting tobacco use. Higher taxes also reduce non-smokers’ exposure to second-hand smoke, improving community health,’ she s

Madam Darko said the FDA was committed to fully supporting the continuous implementation of the Excise Duty Amendment Act to reduce tobacco use and save lives in Ghana.

‘As mandated by the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851), the FDA remains unwavering in its commitment to enforcing tobacco control measures.

‘We will intensify public awareness campaigns on the dangers of tobacco, including shisha and electronic nicotine delivery products, and enforce the ban on tobacco advertising, sponsorship, and promotion to protect our youth,’ she stated.

She said this year’s World No Tobacco Day with the theme: ‘Protecting Children from Tobacco Industry Interference’ was a call to action for all stakeholders.

The FDA has initiated a campaign to raise awareness of tobacco’s health impacts and to protect our children from the tobacco industry’s influence, empower them with knowledge about the dangers of tobacco and equip them with the resilience to resist temptation.

‘As a nation we achieved a landmark Supreme Cour
t judgement that upholds the FDA Advertisement Guidelines and Ministry of Health Policy to shield youth and minors from the undue influence of celebrities and well-known personalities endorsing alcoholic beverages. This is a significant, landmark victory for public health.

‘Again, together, we must implement robust policies and regulations to safeguard our children’s health, and tax increases is one effective policy,’ she said, adding that the tagline for the FDA is ‘Your well-being, Our Priority.’

Madam Darko urged all stakeholders-public health professionals, non-governmental organizations, the concerned public and the media, to contribute their expertise, time and efforts in creating impactful interventions and advancing tobacco control efforts within their communities to safeguard our health.

Source: Ghana News Agency

AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine, health outreach programmes benefit over 30,000 people

AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mines’ health outreach programme has benefitted over 30,000 residents in the Adansi enclave since it was launched in 2021.

The company has since the launch of the programme, collaborated with other organizations such as the Ghana Health Service, German Development Agency (GIZ) and the Otumfuo Health Foundation, to offer free health screening and treat the people within its host communities.

The health outreach programme, which has been organized on a rotational basis in different communities, forms part of the 10-year Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) of the company, which is aimed at taking quality health care delivery to the doorsteps of the people.

A team of health professionals made up of doctors, nurses, dispensary technicians and others, drawn from various institutions, attended to the people by providing various services required.

Diseases such as sickle cell anaemia, hepatitis, dental disease, eye care, malaria, and typhoid among others, had all been screened and trea
ted for the people.

Some of the people who visited and participated in the exercise were given medications, while those who needed further treatment and diagnosis were referred to health facilities for further examination.

Mr Edmund Oduro Adjei, Senior Manager, Sustainability, speaking at one of such health outreach programmes at Obuasi, said the Mine, had also facilitated the training of over 500 health workers in various health sub-specialities like burns treatment and management, heavyweight metals and toxins management, cervical cancer, neonatal and others, in the area.

He said the company’s commitment to improving access to quality healthcare in Obuasi and its environs triggered the construction of ultra-modern health facilities with state-of-the-art equipment and amenities within the host communities.

For instance, the company has refurbished and upgraded the Anyinam clinic to a Health Center and is currently constructing a health centre to serve the New Dokyiwaa/Binsere communities, while expanding
the Akokoreri Health Center with a newly constructed surgical theatre as well as constructing a clinic at Apitikooko.

According to him, all these facilities were to bring relief to those who travel far away to seek good medical attention and provide them with access to quality care and treatment.

Mr Adjei said through collective efforts, the company was not only providing much-needed healthcare services but also raising awareness about the importance of early detection and prevention, through these mini-clinics.

He thanked health professionals in the area and volunteers for making time to always avail themselves to serve the communities whenever the need arose and urged them not to relent in their efforts.

Dr Martin Sarfo Osei, Obuasi Municipal Director of Health Services commended the AGA for showing resilience and commitment, by ensuring that it gave back to the communities what they desire and encouraged the company to never look back on its host communities.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Digital communication, key in addressing malnutrition challenges-ISSER 

Professor Robert Darko Osei, the Research Project Lead of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, has urged stakeholders to support digital communication technologies to address malnutrition in rural areas.

He said there was a huge gain and potential in using digital communication to effect changes in nutritional behaviour among poor households.

Professor Osei said this during a stakeholders’ engagement workshop on findings of a three-year research project in four Northern Regions titled: ‘ Using Digital Communication to Reinforce Nutrition and Household Resilience in Northern Ghana.’

The workshop educated participants on the findings of the research, which aimed to assess whether digital communication could be deployed for rural education on nutrition and health and its impact on household behaviours.

This research project, led by ISSER is part of a USAID-funded collaborative research grant programme between Feed the Future Innovation Laboratory for Market
s, risks and resilience under the USAID and the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED). 

It sought to understand how using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) message as a mode of communicating nutrition and water, sanitation, and hygiene educational content to rural communities to change behaviours in rural households for positive nutrition and health outcomes among the rural poor in Northern Ghana.

‘After conducting research fieldwork over three years across four northern regions within 232 rural communities, the research project has found policy-relevant results,’ Professor Osei added.

He indicated that malnutrition was a public health challenge, especially in the Northern sector, which needed the attention of all stakeholders to address it. 

According to Professor Osei, nutrition, health and sanitation were important components of the livelihoods approach to tackle inequality, poverty, and deprivation. 

He appealed to stakeholders to practice nutrition education in the local langu
ages to improve health-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices in rural areas. 

Dr Charles Yaw Okyere, who is part of the project Team said, the research found that at baseline, stunting is about 17.5 per cent, Wasting is six per cent and underweight is about 12.3 per cent according to the 2022 Demographic and Health Survey. 

According to him, malnutrition affected child educational outcomes and was more pronounced in the Northern regions of Ghana.

He stated that in the research 30 percent of the Households studied had a poor food consumption score.

Dr Fidela Dake, a team member of the Research project said so far, the project had impacted positively on nutrition outcomes and self-reported health after six months of sending messages to beneficiary households. 

She added that these messages, communicated through the IVR platform had changed nutrition and WASH perception among households and now more people took hand washing and boiling of water before drinking as key health tools.

Source: Ghana News

CONIWAS reiterates commitment to prioritising WASH, sustainable development

Miss Beata Awinpoka Akanyani, Chairperson, Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), has reiterated the collective commitment of member NGOs to prioritise Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related issues in the country.

She pledged the organisation’s commitment to drive sustainable development, saying ‘Ensuring inclusive WASH services was essential for leaving no one behind in our pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).’

She was speaking at the 2024 Ghana WASH Week National Stakeholder Dialogue in Accra.

The event was to raise national awareness about the importance of improved WASH, particularly sanitation, and the necessity of living in a clean and healthy environment.

It was on the theme: ‘WASH Prioritisation and Its Impacts on Social Development’.

It was supported by World Bank, GAMA SWP project, UNICEF, IRC, WaterAid Ghana, Global Communities, Plan International Ghana, SNV, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), APDO and PATH Ghana.

Ms Akanyani said the dialogue served as a plat
form for knowledge sharing, addressing challenges and forging partnerships that could drive meaningful changes.

She said interactions at the event underscored the essence of WASH in driving social development and progress, noting that WASH was acknowledged as a cross-cutting issue, integral to all 17 SDGs, directly influencing 132 out of the 169 targets areas.

She said, ‘We have recognised the interconnectedness of WASH with agriculture, nutrition, health and climate change emphasising that WASH was critical for safe sanitation, better health, a sustained environment and economic productivity, all of which contributed to improved livelihoods.’

She called for proper coordination among Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and the establishment of a National Sanitation Authority as steps towards effective WASH governance.

Ms Akanyani further recommended the integration of WASH into livelihood programmes to ensure that its interventions contributed to economic empowerment and community resi

Source: Ghana News Agency

Most youth fear pregnancy more than HIV/AIDS – GHS

Mr. Anani Adator, the HIV/AIDS Coordinator for the Ada East District, has disclosed that most Ghanaian youth fear and prevent pregnancy more than HIV/AIDS.

Mr Adator, speaking with the Ghana News Agency in an interview, noted that contraceptives often run out at pharmacies and health facilities, while condoms stay on the shelves and expire without being purchased.

He based his statement on data from the 2023 national and sub-national HIV/AIDS estimates. 

According to the Ghana AIDS Commission, 17,774 people, comprising 6,457 males and 11,317 females, became newly infected with HIV in 2023, indicating that the HIV population increased by nine per cent between 2013 and 2023, which is projected to increase by 6.8 per cent by 2030.

Additionally, the data also revealed that 12,480 Ghanaians died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2023.

Mr. Adator stated that ‘the regional data is not looking too good. It’s very scary because when you juxtapose the national figures, especially in Ada, from the ages between 10 and
19 years, people who are affected by the deadly disease are about 11 per cent, while the national rate is just five per cent, and that’s why I said the regional data is scary.’

He revealed that even though the report captured 1,151 people living with HIV/AIDS in Ada, the reality on the ground might be around 1,800 affected people, as some who did not report to the health facilities might not have been captured by the statistics.

He added that sometimes health officials must chase victims and compel them to go for their medications.

‘Some even give us the wrong contacts so that we can’t reach out to them, and so they end up spreading the virus to others. I’m scared that if care is not taken, it will get to a point where in every family, there will be people testing positive for HIV and AIDS,’ he lamented.

Mr. Adator applauded the Naana Kakie Foundation, an NGO, and stakeholder in Ada for their initiative to help with HIV/AIDS education for the public, schools, organisations, and religious organisations to
prevent the spread of the virus and promote safe sex practices.

He added that their sensitization programme, which is done in the local language, significantly helped in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS.

He urged HIV/AIDS patients to take their medication regularly while cautioning the youth against engaging in unprotected sex and emphasised the need for more education on the disease as a tool to curb the spread of the disease.

Source: Ghana News Agency