AstraZeneca and Edusei Foundation organise international conference on NCDs

Accra, Aug. 16, GNA
– An international conference on: “Food Security, Dietary Practices and
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs),” has ended in Accra, with a high-programmed
action to make proper nutrition a cornerstone for healthy living plan.

The initiative was
aimed at checking malnutrition, which is a major challenge in Africa.

The conference
sponsored by AstraZeneca and Edusei Foundation, was to raise awareness of the
link between food security, insufficient diet quality and NCDs with its serious
impact on health and socio-economic development in Ghana.

The conference
devised strategies that are needed to control NCDs in the country.

The event was
moderated by Dr Matilda Asante, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Nutrition
and Dietetics, School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences, University of
Ghana and Past Vice President, Ghana Dietetics Association.

Dr Margaret
Udahogora, Director of Dietetic Programme, Department of Nutrition and Food
Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, US, in a keynote speech
highlighted the modifiable risk factors for NCDs in both high and low income
communities and the role of food security and a multi-sectoral approach to NCD
prevention.

She noted that food
security includes four pillars of availability, accessibility, utilisation and
stability to meet nutritional needs.

There was a panel
discussion comprising Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, Director General, Ministry
of Health,  Dr. Francis Appiah,  College of Agriculture and Natural Resources,
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; Dr Gladys Peprah
Boateng,  former Chief Dietitian, 37
Military Hospital, and Dr Iristide Ekow Essien, a UK Community Development,
Policy Development, Social Enterprise Specialist.

They called for the
need to strengthen a multi sectoral commitment for combating NCDs by scaling up
action across the various government and private sectors.

The panelists
highlighted the challenges of attaining food security for regular utilisation
of safe and nutritious foods as well as the health related consequences such as
under nutrition, overweight/obesity, diabetes, high maternal mortality and
other NCDs.

Issues relating to
curative (rather than preventive) care were addressed and they called for a
stronger public health institution, quality of health care and improved
capacity in policy making and implementation, with responsive and equitable
health systems.

The conference was
the first of its kind being hosted under a public private partnership of Let’s
Go Africa Foundation, School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences, Ghana
Institute of Horticulturists and the Ghana Dietetic Association – sponsored by
the private sector and major NGO.

Expert delegates
from governmental agencies and scientific societies came from Ghana, US, United
Kingdom and the State of Qatar.

During the break
sessions, AstraZeneca, a sponsor of the conference, spelt out evidence relating
to the magnitude and impact of NCDs on health and on the economy of African
countries and efforts by the company to roll out a healthy heart programme in
all African countries.

AstraZeneca spoke
about its Enidaso medical programme in Ghana and multimedia videos were shown
to enhance learning materials on NCDs in Africa.

Delegates were
thrilled to hear about the social protection programme in Ghana by Edusei
Foundation, on its educational workshops that has reached and trained about
5000 youth in the country and the Diaspora and Edusei Foundation International
Centre at Bekwai in the Ashanti Region.

A short video
captivated the audience.

The conference ended
with the participants developing an action plan and endorsing strategies to
address the challenges faced by the enormity of NCDs and their subsequent
social and economic impact in Ghana.

The concept of
food-based dietary guidelines in Ghana, increased advocacy, high impact
interventions, and collaboration were suggested in an actions plan to promote
healthy nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

GNA

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