Investing in NCD prevention better than cure -WHO to Ghana, Africa

Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of the World Health Organization’s Department for Social Determinants of Health, says Ghana should invest more on preventing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) rather than focusing solely on cures.

He stated that, while curative healthcare is important and necessary, it is prohibitively expensive and may be avoided if African governments invest in NCD prevention.

Dr Krug told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) during the recently concluded Partnership for Healthy City Summit in Cape Town that NCD prevention has proven beneficial, with every dollar invested in preventive measures likely to yield seven times the results.

‘We need to address the causes of NCDs rather than wait until it is too long, we can act by increasing taxes on tobacco, reducing advertisement on processed and sugary drinks and working on providing healthy food options in schools as launch.’

Dr. Krug said NCDs and injuries are the largest and most challenging public health issues in Africa and around the world, but that w
ith basic measures, the world could achieve immense results.

He said that Africa had traditionally experienced infectious diseases but is now dealing with an increase in chronic ailments and injuries.

‘The rising rates of NCDs are costing a lot of money to society and lives, a lot of people are dying prematurely, and a lot of people need treatment for a very long time.’

Dr. Krug urged governments to set aside funds from their national budgets to fund NCD preventive programmes, to reduce investment and care while investing more in prevention.

With NCDs responsible for 80 per cent of deaths all over the world, he said ‘now the WHO sees pockets of progress, clearly the world knows what to be done and that is encouraging.’

‘Today more than half of the people in world already live in cities and by 2050, it will be two thirds of the world’s population, which means, we cannot ignore health in city planning, we need to make sure to invest in NCD prevention,’ he said.

On March 26, 2024, the Ugandan government, i
n its attempt to ‘tame the rising burden of lifestyle disease’ in the country, directed all civil servants to spend two hours each week undertaking physical activity to be fit and healthy.

The directive was shared in a letter to government agencies from the head of public service, Lucy Nakyobe, who stated that the sessions would ‘help save the lives of staff and reduce the disease burden’.

Lusaka, Zambia, is establishing a policy to enforce bike lanes on major routes around the city as part of its commitment to safe and active mobility under the Partnership for Healthy Cities initiative.

Bangkok, Thailand, has also completed a series of urban design modifications focused on upgrading walkways and bicycle paths in the Bamrung Mueang district to encourage people to walk more frequently.

Source: Ghana News Agency