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22.02.2006 General News

More deaths are resulting from funerals


Accra, Feb. 22, GNA - Mrs Martha Gyansa Lutterodt, Acting Head of the Ghana National Drug Programme of the Ministry of Health, on Wednesday observed that funerals were increasingly becoming a cause of death in addition to non-communicable diseases.

"After almost every funeral another death occurs as a result of drunkenness on the part of mourners leading to road accidents and other related deaths, she said.

Mrs Lutterodt, who was presenting a paper on: "Towards The New Paradigm - The Role of Health Industry" at a stakeholders forum in Accra, said the non-communicable diseases in the top 10 morbidity league table included cardiovascular diseases; diabetes mellitus; road traffic accidents and pregnancy related illnesses among other illness.

"The road traffic accidents were mainly due to drunkenness on the part of people, who were mainly from funerals of their departed love ones, creating a cycle of funerals almost all the time"; she said. "The frequent hand shake without properly washing of hands before eating at funerals was also increasing the risk of death from contamination."

Mrs Lutterodt said the new paradigm in health care emphasised health promotion and preventive rather than curative. She said there was also the need for all Ghanaians to recognize the fact that nutrition was unquestionably, the most important factor in building and maintaining health and correcting diseases.

"There simply could be no healing without proper correction of nutritional deficiencies," adding that drugs, surgery, manipulations, acupuncture hydro-electro-magneto-therapy among other methods were useful and had their place in the arsenal for treatment, but would simply fail in most cases unless the corrective and supportive nutritional therapy was given priority.

Mrs Lutterodt said the health industry was an important component of the health care system, taking at least 60 per cent of the health care budget, hence the need for private investment in that sector. Businesses in this industry would not only create wealth, but also would enhance employment and improve health for a large number of people.

Mr Samuel Boateng, Director, Procurement and Supplies, MOH, said one of the prime goals of Ghana's national drug policy was to ensure the regular availability of essential medicines throughout the healthcare delivery system.

"Currently, more than 70 per cent of medicines in the country are imported and local production is seen as a real alternative to guaranteeing regular supply of quality medicines at affordable prices," he said.

Professor David Ofori-Adjei, Director Noguchi Memorial Institute, who chaired the forum, said Ghana had reached a stage in her health care drive, where access to medicine was crucial.