I am going to share my views on why I think there are numerous killer diseases leading to astonishing great number of deaths among Ghanaians in Ghana. Some of these diseases are non-communicable but highly deadly – cancer, hypertension and diabetes. Others are communicable and are as equally deadly – HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
The cause of the first set of diseases that has come to inflict enormous daily torment and fatalities on Ghanaians could be attributed to a number of factors. The excessively unscientific methodical application of chemicals (insecticides, weedicides etc.,) to our farming, with the likelihood of a great amount of these chemicals seeping through into our food chain is one factor.
Many of our young farmers, especially those into tomatoes and other vegetables farming, do apply extensive chemicals to their crops. For envisaged high yield, low labour cost (avoiding “by day” labourers charging them exorbitant fees or wages) and to protect their crops against destruction by insects, they do find quick fix in the use of what have seemingly become uncontrolled chemicals.
Great amount of these deadly chemicals finding their way into the crops, directly affecting or contaminating the fruits or the end products, does have direct but unsuspected devastating effect on our health. The gradual but persistent accumulation of these insecticidal chemicals in our bodies can cause cancer and other related diseases to us.
The excessive consumption of salt gives rise to hypertension in people of African descent. Are our modern methods used in the production of salt in Ghana able to serve as any safety net against becoming a victim to hypertension? No!
Additionally, even though poor as we are, some Ghanaians have a taste for enjoying sugar in huge quantities. Excess sugar in the body has often given rise to diabetes in people. I know how low level sugar in the body also causes problems.
While people with type 1 diabetes need injections of insulin every day in order to control the levels of glucose in their blood, without which they will die, people with type 2 diabetes can often initially manage their condition through exercise and diet. However, over time most people will require oral drugs and or insulin.
I quite remember throwing a can of 7UP soft drink I bought when I was holidaying in Ghana in May 2012 away. As soon as I took a sip, I could only feel like tasting or drinking something about ten times sweeter than ordinary sugar. What was that 7UP made of? Do all 7UPs in Ghana taste the same – too sugary? They taste differently from those in Europe even though each contains sugar but in different measurements. Is there any wonder that Ghanaians are suffering from the mentioned diseases which could have been avoided if we minded our methods, use and consumption of certain types of food and products?
The way our radio stations, media houses and other outlets do advertise certain foods and drugs that may not have been properly certified by the Foods and Drugs Authority (FDA) also give cause for concern. They keep on advertising 24/7hrs drugs of all sorts, especially those originating from China, that have to do with strengthening individual’s sexual prowess or libidos.
The radio stations, as business oriented with profit maximisation as their main focus and motive, keep on advertising any product brought to their attention without bothering to query their efficacy, side effects etc., by cross-checking with the Foods and Drugs Authority. Is the Food and Drugs Authority credible enough to exercise their duties professionally, without bias but with open-minded approach, having the best interests of the citizens at heart but not their parochially politically polarised interests?
Many Ghanaians, some as quack as they are, have all become herbalists, selling their uncertified herbal drugs in cars, open public spaces and wherever they can attract public attention. The sale of the mushrooming herbal drugs in Ghana must be regulated. All herbalists must be licensed and be restricted to specific areas where they can sell their drugs or do business. They must be honest with themselves and to the public by telling the exact illnesses the drugs do heal than to wooing people over to needlessly purchase their drugs with their often sugar-coated words, claiming one drug can cure or treat over ten different diseases.
Consumption of alcohol without moderation can cause various problems in the human body. It can affect or damage the liver. One had better understand the functions of the liver in the human body to better appreciate the seriousness of causing any damage to it either intentionally or inadvertently, through excessive consumption of alcohol.
Unfortunately, our media houses, especially the FM radio stations are always saturating the airwaves with advertisements enticing their listeners to take to drinking this or that, type of alcohol.
Please stay tuned for further revelations and solutions in the follow-up series shortly.