Mr Haruna Iddrisu (standing), Minority Leader, making a statement after the delivery of the SONA. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

Parliament of Ghana has ratified by resolution “Protocol for the Elimination of Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products” in accordance with constitution and Order 178 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

The objectives of the protocol are to bridge the equity gaps in geographical access to health, to ensure sustainable financing for healthcare delivery and financial protection for the poor.

Also to improve quality of health service delivery including mental health services. It would also enhance national capacity for the attainment of the health related goals and sustain the gains as well as to intensify prevention and control of non-communicable and other communicable disease.

Presenting the report, to the August House on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, the chairman of the select committee on health, Dr. Kwabena Twum-Nuamah said the ratification of the Protocol will enable the Ministry of Health to implement initiatives and programmes to help actualize government’s priorities in the Health Sector.

It is therefore anticipated that the Protocol will complement the efforts of the Ministry and its agencies to deliver quality, affordable and equitable healthcare services to all people living in Ghana whilst ensuring the reduction of revenue losses to government and also the reduction of the funding of transnational criminal activities.

Background

Illicit trade in tobacco products undermines legal restriction, health regulations and tobacco control policies, resulting in increased accessibility, affordability and consumption of tobacco products, thus fuelling the tobacco epidemic.

These give rise to increase prevalence of tobacco use and eventually impact negatively on public health efforts that seek to reduce the burden of disease, disability and deaths attributed to tobacco related diseases or non-communicable diseases.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use kills about seven (7) million people every year, out of which five (5) million are users and about 600,000 are nonsmokers.

Many more people develop serious illnesses such as cancers, chronic respiratory and heart diseases.

Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for 60% of the estimated 58 million global deaths each year and 44% of premature deaths.

Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that mortality from NCDs will increase overall by 17% in the next 10 years.

The largest increase in mortality will be seen in developing countries and about 27% in the African region whose fragile health systems are still grappling with a heavy burden of communicable disease, leading to a duo burden of disease.

Analyses of institutional data in Ghana suggest several Non Communicable Diseases, (NCDs) have been increasing in both absolute and relative terms.

The prevalence of adult hypertension in Ghana appears to be increasing and ranges from 19% to 48%.

Reported outpatient cases of hypertension in public and mission facilities other than teaching hospitals increased from about 60,000 cases in 1990 to about 70,000 in 2010.

Hypertension has ranked in the top five outpatient disease for more than 15 years, accounting for 3.0%-5.0% of all new outpatient diseases across all ages.

Story by Edzorna Francis Mensah

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