THE EMERGING TRENDS OF CHRONIC NON-COMMUNICALBLE DISEASES IN BIAKOYE DISTRICT: HYPERTENSION AND DIABETES IN FOCUS
By: Peter Eyram Kuenyefu, Senior Physician Assistant
Chronic Non- Communicable Diseases have been defined as diseases or conditions that occur in, or are known to affect over an extensive period of time and for which there are no known causative agents that are transmitted from one individual to another.
The rapid rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represents one of the key major health challenges to global growth and development. The priority diseases included in the cluster of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, and their risk factors such as Hypertension, Coronary Heart Disease and Cerebrovascular Accidents, Cancers, Injuries, Chronic Respiratory Infections, and Mental Health.
The aforementioned diseases share common risk factors such as unhealthy diet, smoking, excessive alcohol use, substance abuse and physical inability. These diseases are manifested as obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood lipids.
However, other NCDs can be classified as follows;
- NCDs of genetic origin like sickle cell disease and other haemoglobinopathies
- Injuries like Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs, Falls, etc.)
- Other NCDs such as oral disorders, eye disorders and mental ill-health
The focus of this article is on cardiovascular diseases, particularly Hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus. The global burden of NCDs is projected to approach high levels, especially in developing countries. In 1999, NCDs, were responsible for 60% of deaths in the world and 43% of the global burden of disease. By the year 2020, the global impact of NCDs has been projected to cause up to 73% of deaths and 60% of the burden of disease.
In Ghana, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that NCDs account for an estimated 34% deaths and 31% of disease burden in Ghana. NCDs kill an estimated 86,200 persons in Ghana each year with 55.5% of them aged less than 70 years and 58% of males being affected. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), the prevalence of adult hypertension in Ghana appears to be increasing and ranges from 19% to 48%. Up to 70% of persons identified to have hypertension are not on treatment and only 0%-13% of those with hypertension have their blood pressures controlled.
Zeroing in down to Biakoye District in the Oti Region of Ghana, the rise in the prevalence of chronic NCDs is a cause for alarm as demonstrated in the table below:
|Adult Pop.||2016||Adult Pop||2017||Adult
SOURCE: GHS. DHIMS 2
The above trend calls for an elaborate and holistic planning, organizing andimplementation of strategic plans in the areas of prevention (primordial, primary, secondary and tertiary) to reduce the prevalence of the most common chronic NCDs in Biakoye District.
Most of the decline in NCDs in developed countries can be attributed to improvements in nutrition, housing, sanitation, screening and other environmental measures. Those measures can also be replicated in our District with the right policies and direction, with the active broader stakeholder involvement.
There is therefore the need for professionals in the health service and other key stakeholders like the municipal/district, religious leaders, traditional authority, etc. in the district must concentrate on the following:
- Primordial Prevention: This is with the aim of avoiding the emergence and establishment of the social, economic and cultural patterns of living that are known to contribute to an elevated risk of disease through policy
- Primary prevention: This is to limit the incidence of disease by protection of health by personal and communal efforts through enhancing nutritional status, providing immunizations and eliminating environmental risks.
- Secondary Prevention: This is geared towards reducing the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes by shortening their duration by early detection (diagnosis) and prompt intervention (clinical care) to control disease and minimize disability controlling specific causes and risk factors through periodic community and facility-based screenings.
- Tertiary Prevision: Emphasis in this level of prevention should be aimed at reduction of number and/or impact of complications by softening the impact of long-term disease and disability, minimizing suffering and maximizing potential years of useful life through rehabilitation
Going forward, we also need to do concentrate on the following;
- Health system strengthening where we
- Train health workers and develop human resource capacity
- Provide essential drugs and supplies
- Integrate NCD plans into wider health systems planning
- Ensure financial mechanisms for improved allocation and efficient use of funds
- Research and development
- Surveillance of NCDs and their risk factors
- To strengthen partnerships within the health sector and between non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), the private sector and the
community to promote healthy lifestyles
The Public Health Department of Biakoye District Health Directorate has a critical role to play in the fight against the emerging trends of NCDs like hypertension and diabetes in the district through intensifying health promotional and prevention activities geared at informing, educating and counseling the populace.
Together, we can put our synergies together to address the emerging trends in the incidence and prevalence of hypertension and diabetes in the district.
The writer is a practicing Physician Assistants who has interests in Public Health, and Maternal and Child Health.
Contact Number: 0249883933