Chairperson of the Ghana Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance, Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, has called for equal social interventions in the treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) as it is done in the treatment of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
She said the treatment for COVID-19 is done freely by the government, neglecting persons with NCDs like hypertension, diabetes, cancers among others who are at the high risks of contracting and dying from the coronavirus, a case she described as “discriminatory”.
Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, who is also the Chairperson of Ghana Cancer Board, made the call during a breast cancer screening for the Women’s Ministry of the Brofeyedu Church of Pentecost, in the Atwima Kwanwoma district of the Ashanti region on Wednesday, August 19.
The screening was the first community engagement by the Breast Care International (BCI) and Peace Love Hospitals (PLS) after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions by President Nana Akufo Addo, which was imposed on March 2020.
The women were sensitised on the causes, control and prevention of breast cancer, after which a free breast cancer screening was done.
“If the cost of treatments for the coronavirus patients were born by the government, why can’t the same done in the treatment of NCDs? If the tests, diagnostic procedures are covered freely, why should the government has to discriminate?” she quizzes.
Dr Wiafe stated, “it is as if no other disease exits apart from the coronavirus. We should change the attitude of discriminate, treat them and give social support to patients diagnosed and those battling with the NCD. The government should look at it and absorb all the costs involved to save more lives.”
She continued, “COVID-19 did not come to stop cancers, it did not come trade places with the NCDs so we cannot also stop creating awareness about the NCDs, especially the breast cancer which is killing the women. Because of the COVID era, most women were scared to go to hospital for the fear of been diagnosed with the virus and activities were halted which has lead to the reporting of advanced stages of breast cancer. So it’s time the government intervene in the form of funding to avert this serious situation."
Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai cautioned that though the incidence and mortality in COVID-19 have reduced, the public should not lose guard but continue to observe the safety etiquettes to eliminate the virus.
“Let’s not take things for granted after seeing that active cases have drastically reduced. Let us continue to practice the social distancing, washing and sanitizing of the hands and wearing of the nose masks to halt the spread of the virus,” she advised.