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Health News of Saturday, 28 October 2006

Source: GNA

Health Ministry to implement regenerative health and nutrition

Accra, Oct. 28, GNA- Major Courage Quashigah (Rtd) Minister of Health on Friday advocated for the review of school curriculum to include the teaching of health education to inculcate into the children the maintenance of health lifestyles in healthy environments. He also proposed that nutrition should be taught as a stand-alone core subject at the Junior and Senior Secondary Schools, whilst physical fitness and games were made compulsory in all educational institutions up to the tertiary level.

Major Quashigah made the proposal at a press briefing on the Ministry's "The Regenerative Health and Nutrition Project", which will soon be implemented throughout the country. The project initiated by the Health Minister forms part of the New Paradigm Shift that will focus more on promotion health in its totality, prevent diseases and injuries from occurring, people restored to health and the disabled rehabilitated to their highest possible level of function.

The project, according to the Minister was their contribution to President John Agyekum Kufuor's vision of moving the country into a middle income status of 1000 dollars per capita income by the year 2015, adding, "our contribution is to ensure that we are healthy and productive to create the wealth required to move this nation out of poverty".

Major Quashigah noted that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke and cancers that were earlier attributed to developed countries and the diseases for the affluent were now becoming major causes of morbidity, mortality and disability in developing countries, including Ghana.

He said Ghanaians have generated preventable diseases out of the lifestyles they have adopted through what they eat and the environment they dwell in and that was what was killing them. He added that cholesterol had contributed to more deaths than all the wars of the 20th Century, all natural disasters and all automobile accidents combined. "How could such a murderer remain unchallenged? Why is that there is an uproar when you report on one homicide but when you report of thousands of Ghanaians dying of malaria, cholera and other cardiovascular diseases, the public see it as a normal phenomenon".

Major Quashigah expressed worry about the number of Ghanaians dying from preventable and avoidable diseases adding, "The disease burden is unnecessarily retarding our socio-economic development and endangers the President's vision of attaining middle income status by the 2015".

He noted that the Regenerative Health and Nutrition project would reduce the burden of diseases and provide quality and accessible health care to all Ghanaians.

He expressed concern about malnutrition, which was very high among children, less than five years and was contributing to their low intelligence quotient, low absorptive capacity, stunting, wasting, obesity and even ill health in adult life.

He attributed most diseases and injuries affecting Ghanaians to indiscipline on our roads, lack of enforcement of laws on occupational safety and health hazards, lack of personal hygiene, exercise, rest and recreation, reckless lifestyles filled with alcohol and drug abuse, poor nutrition, unsanitary environments and consumption of unsafe water. Major Quashigah said Ghanaians have been taking nutrition for granted, "we eat all the wrong foods at the wrong times and the wrong places, constipate heavily, and generate toxic wastes in our bodies which also become the cause of many non-communicable diseases". He urged Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of eating more fruits and drinking more water adding, "you must eat to live and not live eat and die".

He said Dimona, a village in Israel after 38 years of actively promoting lifestyle changes, including regular exercises and environmental cleanliness, has effectively eliminated most communicable and non-communicable diseases. "This practice has been replicated in Benin and we in Ghana want to adopt that lifestyle since our forebears have lived the same type of lifestyle before and lived longer than we are living today". Major Quashigah said the Health Ministry was collaborating with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies to "buy the idea of the project to ensure better health for all." 28 Oct. 06

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