By: Oforiwa Darko
Dealing with diabetes in the midst of inadequate health infrastructure, continue to impede the progress of treatment for persons living with diabetes.
Statistics from the Ghana Health Service, show that over 200,000 diabetes cases are detected at out-patient departments of public hospitals annually. Health experts have described the situation as frightening.
As part of activities commemorating World Diabetes Day, which was officially held on November 14, the Embassy of Denmark in Accra has held a high-level stakeholder meeting to strengthen public-private partnerships to tackle the disease in Ghana, especially among children.
Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana, Mr Tom Norring, noted that after several years of development cooperation, and with over 23 years of support to the health sector, Denmark’s role in Ghana has transitioned from a focus on aid to commercial and political cooperation.
“The Embassy stands on the foundation of the strong relationships we have built over the years through our development cooperation, and we are happy that we can now bring together public and private actors from both countries to work closely together”.
“One major issue worth noting when it comes to the treatment and care of diabetes is Novo Nordisk’s collaboration with key stakeholders in Ghana. Novo Nordisk, a major global Danish healthcare company leading the fight against diabetes, since 2014 collaborated with partners in the health sector to establish
10 diabetes support centres in Ghana”.
Stakeholders from the Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Health, representatives from Novo Nordisk, and officials from the Embassy of Denmark in Accra, brainstormed ways of expanding the horizons of health professionals and persons living with disabilities.
Dr Adeline Asante, who is managing diabetes at the 37 Military Hospital’s diabetes clinic that is implementing the Novo Nordisk Changing Diabetes in Children programme, emphasized that the health of patients under the programme has improved with no records of crisis.
“I believe no child should die from diabetes so the “Changing Diabetes in Children” Programme is a step in the right direction. Now, it has made it possible for children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes to live full and healthy lives”.
The commitment of health professionals at the 37 Military hospital’s diabetes clinic has also made a difference in the lives of the children living with diabetes. Dr Adeline Asante further noted.
The Business Unit Head, English West Africa of Novo Nordisk, Mr. Jude Abonu, said that Novo Nordisk has a meaningful partnership within Ghana’s health sector that is helping to tackle diabetes, especially among children.
“We are very grateful for the collaboration and commitment of stakeholders in the health sector as well as the local partners implementing “Changing Diabetes” in Children that work together to find sustainable solutions in addressing type 1 diabetes care”.
According to the Director of Infrastructure at the Ministry of Health, Mr Ben Ampomah Nkansah, strengthening public-private partnership in tackling diabetes will help immensely to increase patients’ access to affordable and quality healthcare.
Mr Ben Ampomah Nkansah also noted that as Ghana strive to achieve Universal Health, it is imperative for the country to adopt innovative strategies to tackle diabetes head-on.
“In line with the Global Diabetes Compact and Ghana’s revised NCD policy, the country has prioritized some strategies to address diabetes; to improve screening and diagnosis of diabetes, especially at the PHC, to ensure that persons diagnosed with diabetes have good blood pressure and blood sugar control, and prioritize involvement of persons living with diabetes in patient care models”.
The Team led by the Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana, Mr Tom Norring later paid a courtesy call on the Commanding Officer of the 37 Military Hospital, Brigadier General, Azumah Bugri, for firsthand information on the “Changing Diabetes in Children” Program which ensures care and life-saving medicines for children with type 1 diabetes.
Mr Tom Norring expressed gratitude to the 37 Military Hospital for integrating care as one of the main priorities for people living with diabetes and those at risk.
“To ensure a coordinated approach across multiple providers, primary care systems need to be strengthened at different levels of care and most importantly, the person living with diabetes has to be placed at the centre of their care”.
Brigadier General Azumah Bugri commended Novo Nordisk for its innovative medicines and treatments which are benefiting millions of people living with chronic diseases especially diabetes.
“Improved knowledge about diabetes will help to eradicate stigma and discrimination, two significant barriers to effective prevention and care. I also believe that commitment to support policies and programmes will contribute to flattening the diabetes curve, reduce costs and inequalities as well as improving the quality of life of Persons with Diabetes.
The team’s last port of call was the Diabetes Clinic at the 37 Military Hospital to witness an educational session for beneficiaries of the “Changing Diabetes in Children” Program.
Changing Diabetes in Children is a public–private partnership launched by Novo Nordisk in 2009. In Ghana, the programme is implemented by a group of local partners, with the national health system playing a key role. The programme aims to bring all elements of necessary diabetes care closer to the children who need it and, at the same time, build capacity for the diagnosis and treatment of children with type 1 diabetes at both the community and country level.