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Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa

The need for healthy living and eating habits has become critical to reducing pressure on healthcare facilities and workers as the world struggles to contain and end the coronavirus pandemic.

Healthy living means having the opportunity, ability and motivation to act in ways that positively affect an individual’s physical and mental well-being.

According to health experts, watching what you eat, being physically active, and learning more about your diet and yourself can help you achieve your health goals.

World Health Day (WHD) 2022, which will be observed on Thursday 7 April, for example, is a timely reminder of the complex connection between the planet and our health, as the burden of non-communicable and infectious diseases increases alongside global warming. increasing incidence of climate-related challenges.

The Day (WHD) has been observed annually since 1950, to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) and to raise awareness of the health and well-being of people around the world.

This year’s celebration is themed “Our Planet, Our Health”.

The WHO estimates that more than 13 million people die each year from preventable environmental causes worldwide.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a message on the WHD, said that climate change is having a negative impact on air and water quality, food security, human habitation and shelters.

She said the ripple effect on the burden of heart and lung disease, stroke and cancer, among others, was evident from statistics that showed NCDs accounted for a growing proportion of the disease burden. in Africa.

“In Africa, NCDs are expected to overtake communicable diseases, maternal, neonatal and nutritional conditions combined, to become the leading cause of death by 2030. the urgency of a multisectoral response,” she said.

In Ghana, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Control Program has recorded 1,772,801 cases of hypertension in health facilities across the country over the past three years.

Of these, 626,353 cases of hypertension were recorded in 2019, 596,613 in 2020 and 547,835 in November 2021.

A total of 535,501 diabetes cases have been recorded over the past three years, of which 178,037 cases were recorded in 2019, 174,192 in 2020 and 549,835 in November 2021.

About 6,440 cases of breast cancer were recorded in public health institutions during the same period.

Dr Afua Commey, Deputy Director of Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme, GHS, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that three non-communicable diseases – hypertension, diabetes and cancers could be described as the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the country. the country.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are diseases that are not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person.

Dr. Victor Winbe Abugri, Specialist Family Physician and Head of Department of Family Medicine at Greater Accra Regional Hospital-Ridge, emphasized the need for Ghanaians to take a serious interest in their health and well-being.

“Our health is our greatest wealth, so we must take good care of our health to protect our wealth,” he said.

Dr Abugri said it was important for the public to get routine medical checks, medical screening and stop self-medication to avoid heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

He stressed the need for individuals to undergo routine checkups at least once a year, saying that “people living in countries where wellness screening is taken seriously have a longer lifespan. longer than countries that do not”.

For an improved healthy life, the doctor advised the public to get enough rest, drink plenty of water and take time to exercise daily.

“We need to watch our diet, reduce salt and sugar intake and eat more fruit. To control your diet, stay away from high energy snacks, avoid skipping breakfast and eating at odd hours to prevent obesity,” he said.

As Ghana joins the world in observing World Health Day tomorrow, government, civil society, non-governmental organizations and communities must work together, to empower each other to ensure the continued provision of essential health services during future extreme events, while containing the increasing incidence of environment- and lifestyle-related diseases.

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