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23.11.2005 Health

More youth dying of preventable diseases-study

By GNA
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Accra, Nov. 23, GNA - A study conducted at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital has indicated that about 65 per cent of the deaths at the hospital occurred in ages between zero to 45 years. Most of the diseases they suffered were anaemia, pneumonia, hypertension, diarrhoea, cardiopathy, typhoid fever, hepatitis and sepsis with malaria being the highest.

The study, conducted in 2003, also looked at the in-hospital mortality for the middle and northern belts. The Professor Richard Biritwum, Vice Dean of the University of Ghana Medical School speaking on the topic "The Challenges of Premature Mortality and Preventable Diseases" during a three day national forum on health in Accra on Wednesday said most of the deaths occurred in children.

He said it was unfortunate that most of the deaths emanated from non-communicable diseases, which could have been prevented and called for the need for the health sector to have a serious look at some of those non-communicable diseases "since they are still claiming lives at this modern era".

The national health forum under the theme "Creating Wealth through Health" brought together the best brains in the country to dialogue on a new paradigm for health and formulate a new health policy 2006. The forum will also look at the burden of diseases, determinants of diseases, options mix of approaches for improving health, recommendations and find the way forward.

Prof. Biritwum noted that malaria ran through all other studies that were done in the middle and the northern belts and added, "If we could improve on our sanitation, we could cut down or reduce the number of malaria cases at our Out Patients' Department".

On diabetes, Prof. Biritwum noted, "if we are able to reduce obesity through the food we eat, we could as well control diabetes. He called for the need to intensify health education on risk factors, the environment and our lifestyle, enhance efficiency and performance in service delivery.

"We should also do well to bridge the equity gap in access to quality health care for we cannot afford to lose babies as low as zero to 12 months through no fault of theirs".

Dr Alfred Boohene, Chairman of the Ghana Health Council, who chaired said there was the need to start the National Health Insurance Scheme adding "there may be problems and mistakes but unless we start we may not see these things".

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