Rising non-communicable diseases in Accra: Cardiovascular issues leading cause of death among aged, middle-aged

Cases of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Accra are on the rise, with cardiovascular ailments becoming a leading cause of death among the elderly and middle-aged populations. This concerning trend was revealed by Dr. Abena Okoh, the Metropolitan Director of Health Services.

Dr. Okoh pointed out that NCDs, particularly chronic respiratory diseases, are long-lasting conditions. She attributed the increase in these diseases to environmental pollution and unhealthy lifestyles, highlighting the critical need for preventive measures.

Hypertension: A Major Concern

Dr. Okoh disclosed that hypertension has been the fifth leading cause of death in Accra for three consecutive years, from 2021 to 2023. Health facilities in Accra recorded a total of 38,826 hypertension cases during this period, with 12,451 cases in 2021, 12,671 in 2022, and 13,704 in 2023.

Other NCDs on the Rise

Asthma was the second most common NCD, with cases increasing from 1,364 in 2021 to 2,112 in 2022, before slightly decreasing to 1,661 in 2023. Cardiac diseases also showed significant numbers, with 418 cases in 2021 and 249 in 2022. Stroke cases rose sharply from 187 in 2021 to 304 in 2022.

Environmental Pollution and Women’s Health

Dr. Okoh emphasized the impact of environmental pollution on health, particularly in James Town, where many women are involved in fish smoking using firewood. This practice puts them at high risk of lung cancer and other chronic respiratory diseases. She encouraged these women to switch to clean cookstoves to reduce health risks.

Preventable Deaths

In the past three years, approximately 200 residents of Accra have died from cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Okoh assured that many deaths from NCDs are preventable. She urged communities and policymakers to take action to decrease environmental pollution and encourage healthier lifestyles.

Dr. Okoh’s comments were in response to an Adom News report on the benefits of clean cookstoves, which many fishmongers find too expensive. She reiterated the importance of investing in such preventive tools to improve public health.

The significant increase in NCDs demands immediate action from both the government and the public to tackle the root causes and enhance the overall health and well-being of Accra’s residents.

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