Non-Communicable diseases take the world by storm
Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, Ghanadot
Accra, March 9, Ghanadot -
The incidence of
non-communicable diseases in the world is rising in recent
Indeed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that
by the year 2020, non-communicable diseases would be the
cause of over 70% of the global disease onus and this must
be a cause for concern.
The world would be saddled on a greater scale with diseases
namely diabetes mellitus, hypertension, gout, cancers and
These diseases would be causing more deaths among the
teeming youth and all those in the productive age (the
economic active group).
Ghana our beloved country is now caught in the tangle-web of
both non-communicable and communicable diseases like
malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and this poses a
Herculean health threat to the citizenries.
The combination of non-communicable with the already
gigantic load of communicable diseases in a third world
country like Ghana is heavy enough to decimate national
efforts, peace, productivity and economic gains within a
twinkle of an eye.
The importance of a clean environment, good food and healthy
lifestyle in contemporary world cannot be over-emphasised in
the prevention of both communicable and non-communicable
Furthermore, in a bid to alleviate both communicable and
non-communicable diseases burden in the country, the
Ministry of Health last year introduced a Regenerative and
Nutrition and Lifestyle programme in Ghana to educate
Ghanaians on the need of healthy lifestyle, among others.
To start, lifestyle is a key ingredient to quality health.
It is a big key to the control of non-communicable diseases.
Good lifestyle issues include exercise, balanced diet,
flexible work schedule, no smoking habits and little or
moderate alcohol intake, leisure, recreational activities
and stress-free living.
All these play major contributing roles in promoting health
and longevity and thereby foster national development.
Many of the factors that cause communicable diseases largely
fall outside the scope of the individual’s control. For
non-communicable diseases, however, it is largely a matter
of lifestyle for which individuals can exercise a maximum
level of control.
The key for the control of such diseases is exercise.
Exercise ranks highly in the lifestyle factor.
The term exercise refers to any physical activity-a move for
health. Physical activity is any body movement that results
in the use of energy (burning of calories). When you walk
briskly, play, jog, swim, ride a bicycle, clean a house,
dance, weed a compound or climb stairs, you are moving for
Regular moderate physical activity is one of the easiest and
surest ways to ameliorate and maintain good health. It
promotes healthy growth and development in children and
It has the potential to prevent and control non-communicable
diseases such as diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis-the
brittle bone disease.
Exercise also increases one’s energy levels, reduces stress,
lowers cholesterol, reduces blood pressure and lowers risk
of some cancers.
It also enhances confidence and self-esteem, improves
mobility and energy level of people with disability, reduces
or prevents certain disabilities.
It can reduce the feeling of isolation and loneliness and
improve physical and mental agility.
In sum, exercise can reduce the risk of dying prematurely,
of dying from cardiovascular diseases or stroke, colon
cancer, diabetes, lower back pains and depression.
To encourage people to exercise, to reap the vast health
benefits, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), together with the
World Health Organisation (WHO), had since 2002 initiated a
Health Work Programme.
Even exercise formed the fulcrum theme of 2002’s World
Health Day celebration, which was “Move For Health”.
Since its initiation by Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, the
then Director-General of GHS, the event has been held
regularly on monthly basis and has spread to all the ten
regions of the country.
The Health Walk, which is being supervised by the Ghana
Health Service, is held on the third Saturday of every
month, staring from major polyclinics throughout the
country, through designated points.
It is often accompanied by brass band, and one would see
children, adults and old people walking and dancing, moving
The music accompanying the walk, not only brings joy, but it
is also good sound to announce to all Ghanaians to take
one’s health in one’s own hands, and as well as protect and
The Health Walk, as a physical activity, is to send a strong
message to everybody that we can make the decision to
improve upon our health.
Corporate Ghana also participated and sponsored most of the
Health Walks across the length and breadth of the country.
Indeed, Keep Fit Clubs in Ghana , especially those in the
Accra , Tema and Kumasi metropolis should be commended for
going on walks in the mornings at weekends, not only to burn
the stored fats but also to warm them up for the weekend’s
Wouldn’t it be a good idea if all families and communities
got into such healthy activities, which when well organized,
could foster togetherness and companionship?
The benefits would be far reaching. Mama, Papa and the
children, President, Ministers, Clergymen, Members of
Parliament, District Chief Executives, Assembly members and
all members of the community could use the end of walk to
discuss issues on peace, security, education and above all
improvement of the homes, the neighbourhood and the
The houses and the buildings that have become drab and
lacklustre because they were painted long ago, the grime on
the walls, the choked gutters, the stagnant water and bushes
could be attended to after such walks.
Truly, move for health, balanced diet, healthy lifestyles,
exercise and clean environments are paramount requisites for