Hon. Dr. Sebastian N. Sandaare, a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, is leading an advocacy to address issues concerning the rising burden of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Ghana.
The Member of Parliament for the Daffiama, Bussie, Issa Constituency who took part in a meeting organized by the Ministry of Health together with other ministries and state agencies, expressed parliament’s interest in the health of Ghanaians.
Speaking on behalf of the Ghanaian Coalition of Actors for Public Health Advocacy (CAPHA) of which he is also a member, Dr. Sandaare stated that “As a coalition, they acknowledge as a major public health problem, the increasing morbidity and mortality resulting from NCDs across countries in Africa including Ghana”, and lauded the timeliness and significance of the meeting.
At the meeting, evidence from research carried out by the MEALS4NCDs Prevention Project (a project that is measuring the healthiness of Ghanaian children’s food environments to prevent obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases Project) were shared. The MEALS4NCDs Project is led by the School of Public Health, University of Ghana.
The research data highlighted the need to improve nutrition literacy among the population, improve access to healthy foods, and regulate the sale and advertising of unhealthy foods in and around schools.
Existing research links inadequate access to nutritious, safe, and healthy foods, as well as exposure to unhealthy food environments , and over consumption of unhealthy diets to the development of malnutrition in all its forms. This justifies the call for a transformation of Ghana’s current food environment to promote healthy foods in lieu of unhealthy foods which is the status quo.
Dr. Sadaare also emphasized diet-related NCDs are preventable and to achieve this outcome of improving nutrition among population, public health experts at the meeting agreed that formulating a policy bundle to promote healthier diets remains central to winning the fight against diet-related NCDs in Ghana. “we believe that most NCDs are preventable, especially the diet-related NCDs which can be prevented through promotion of healthier diets and improved nutrition among populations.” He said.
He also said that parliament is willing and available to support and contribute towards the achievement of this objective.