President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged citizens to adopt healthy lifestyles and behaviours that would prevent them from acquiring non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
He expressed concern about the rising incidence of NCDs in the country and charged health authorities and other stakeholders to increase public discourse on the devastating impact of the diseases on people’s lives.
President Akufo-Addo was speaking during a call on him by the leadership of the Ghana Red Cross Society at the Jubilee House in Accra yesterday.
They appealed to the President to lead a campaign dubbed “Agenda 3.4”, which involves education and encouragement of people to live a healthy lifestyle.
The President said the government would craft messages on the dangers of non-communicable diseases and the need for citizens to live lifestyles that would help prevent them from acquiring such diseases.
He advised the people to take their health seriously by regularly checking themselves, particularly their blood pressure and sugar levels.
The President welcomed the willingness of the Red Cross to intensify education on preventive measures against non-communicable diseases.
He also lauded the idea of establishing wellness clinics in all 276 constituencies and urged politicians to include wellness messages in their campaigns.
“Politicians are most listened to and they have national reach and audience.
To have them buying into the idea of carrying these messages would be extremely good.
“We will find a way within the context of our own system to disseminate it, and we encourage our competitors to do same,” President Akufo-Addo, said.
He commended the Red Cross for their immense contribution to the development of the country, particularly during disaster situations.
“I want to applaud and encourage you to continue to do your work, which is service to communities,” the President added.
The acting President of the GRCS, Dr Edward Donkoh, said his outfit intended to educate people on management of blood pressure and blood sugar to protect them from hypertension and diabetes through health promotion programmes and screening for early detection.
“Secondly, we must change the profile of diabetes and hypertension from a disease to a development imperative.
This is because factors that cause diabetes and hypertension are mostly economic, social, attitudinal, behavioural and dietary,” he said, adding “we can achieve this by bringing in social influencers as ambassadors”.
The acting president, however, said they were bound to fail if they confined diabetes and hypertension to clinical care, which was mostly required at the end stage.
Dr Donkoh expressed the organisation’s appreciation to President Akufo-Addo, who, he said the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had described “as a true Champion of NCDs”.
He said the President had demonstrated leadership, and that the Red Cross would continue to support him to succeed.
“This is how we are going to make a difference for the entire world to appreciate Ghana and adopt our exemplary practices,” Dr Donkoh added.