The Advocating for Health (A4H) Coalition has hinted that Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) by 2030, have been predicted to become the leading cause of death in Africa.
Currently, Ghana is experiencing a surge in diet-related NCDs, amidst challenges of food insecurity, micronutrient malnutrition, and infectious morbidities.
More so, several local studies show a high prevalence of overweight and obesity among Ghanaians, with rates ranging from 16% to 46% for children aged 6 to 15 years and 25% to 47% for adults aged 15 and older.
Addressing Journalists at a press conference in Accra, Professor of Public Health Nutrition at the University of Ghana, Amos Laar, noted that poor diets are responsible for 11 million deaths each year (with cardiovascular disease cancers, and diabetes as the leading causes).
Adding that, Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) are a significant contributor to obesity and other diet-related NCDs, including dental caries.
According to Professor Amos Laar, People, particularly children who suffer from obesity have an elevated probability of developing other diet-related NCDs such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and stroke in later life.
The Coalition, therefore, commends the Government of Ghana for the proposal to tax health-harming commodities and products including sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).
“We are referring to the Ghana Excise Duty Amendment Bill, 2022. As health costs and deaths linked to these products mount, this is the right intervention to protect, promote, and guarantee public health.
“Taxation of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages is a Win-Win-Win Strategy for Public Health, for Government Revenue, and for Health Equity.
Governments must implement comprehensive policy measures that make unhealthy foods unattractive, and unavailable, while making healthier foods available, and attractive,” he emphasized.
The Coalition, other civil society organizations, and professional associations will continue to raise support for this policy and will monitor, with keen interest, its implementation – demanding accountability as needed.
The Policy and Advocacy Officer for Ghana NCD Alliance, Juliet Akuamoah Boateng speaking on behalf of the National Coordinator of the GhNCDA Mr. Labram Musah, said the World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed health taxes as part of evidence-based strategies for the prevention and control of NCDs.
The Government of Ghana is therefore urged not to relent in getting the Excise Duty Amendment Bill enacted.
The A4H Coalition – comprises academics from five public universities in Ghana (led by the University of Ghana, School of Public Health), civil society organizations (including the Ghana NCD Alliance), nutrition societies (including the Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), and public health associations (including the Ghana Public Health Association).
Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh