The Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Information, and some partners, have organised a workshop for the Volta Regional House of Chiefs to sensitise them on the COVID-19 pandemic and some Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
A statement issued in Accra, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said Dr Da Costa Aboagye, Director of Health Promotion Division of the Ghana Health Service, educated the chiefs on COVID-19, its associated stigma and NCDs, such as diabetes and hypertension.
Dr Da Costa is also the leader of Risk Communication and Social Mobilization Committee for Ghana’s COVID-19 Response Team.
Dr Da Costa explained, “In recent times, there has been a paradigm shift and sharp a increase in the prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension among Ghanaians.
“When a diabetic develops an infection, it becomes harder to treat due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels and, possibly, the presence of diabetic complications.
“It also leads to a compromised immune system, making it harder to fight infections and prolonged recovery period when one contract COVID-19”.
The Leader of Risk Communication for COVID -19 emphasised that smokers were likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as it destroyed the lung tissue making individuals susceptible to the virus which caused respiratory infection.
He said the act of smoking also increased the chance of transmission of the virus from infected hands.
He reiterated that older people with underlying noncommunicable diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer tended to have a higher risk of developing severe and even fatal complications of COVID-19.
Dr. Da Costa said, “The current COVID-19 pandemic has provoked social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against people of certain racial backgrounds, as well as people infected and their families, and the impact that drives others to hide their illness and prevents them from seeking health care early.
“Again stigma can discourage people from adopting healthy behaviours and may cause depression among people who have recovered from COVID-19.”
He, therefore, admonished Ghanaians to build trust in the health system, show empathy to those affected, and assist the GHS to adopt effective preventive measures to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
He urged traditional leaders to engage with various stakeholders including, Ghana Federation of Disability, Persons Living with HIV, schools heads, market women, Muslim women associations, transport unions, community opinion leaders, among others, to help drive home the key messages on Non-Communicable Diseases, Stigmatisation and COVID-19 preventive protocols.
Mr Kofi Dzamesi, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, urged the chiefs to lead in COVID-19 community education.
Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, a deputy minister of Information, also touted Government’s achievements in the management of the pandemic.
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