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General News of Saturday, 4 August 2007

Source: GNA

Minister stresses need to reduce communicable diseases

Sunyani, Aug 4, GNA - The 29th annual general congress of the Society of Private Medical and Dental Practitioners opened in Sunyani on Friday with a call on members to come up with strategic interventions to help reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases in the country. Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health, appealed to the practitioners to find time to advise patients they treat on nutrition and the need to adopt other life-style modifications.

He said this in a speech read for him by Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Chief Executive Officer of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi. The four-day congress is under theme, "Non communicable diseases - new perspectives".

Major Quashigah said if the doctors educated their patients on the need for low fat and low oil intake, low alcohol intake and no smoking, among other practices, "the whole nation and society at large will be healthier and wealthier".

He urged them "as physicians to adopt emerging facts on life-style and practice them yourselves and stay healthy and alive for us. The nation needs your expertise and services".

Alhaj Dr. Mohammed Bin Ibrahim, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of Health Services, stressed the need to strengthen private public partnership in medical practice to forge strong advocacy with other stakeholders for an integrated approach for instance to nutrition, agriculture and trade.

"This is where we need to focus our efforts in building our individual and collective capacities towards the fight against non communicable diseases", said.

Dr Edward Prempeh, national chairman of the Society, said doctors were themselves sometimes guilty of some of the "misdeeds" or lifestyles that led to infection with non-communicable diseases.

He mentioned smoking, which he said could cause cancer of the lungs, unhealthy and inappropriate diet, alcoholism and lack of physical activity that could lead to cardiovascular diseases and sexual relations with non-regular partners that could lead to STIs and HIV/AIDS. "We have to change and intensify the crusade of teaching our patients how to avoid the factors causing these communicable and non communicable diseases while at the same time setting good example ourselves", Dr. Prempeh said.