Project Title:Creating a favorable environment and stakeholder buy-in for food-related fiscal policies in Ghana
Project Name: “A4H” – Advocating for Health
The majority of Ghana’s population live in urban areas where the food environments are rapidly changing. Ghana is experiencing a surge in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) amidst food insecurity, micronutrient malnutrition, and infectious morbidities. The proportion of the adult population (female) that is overweight or obese in Ghana increased from 10% in 1993 to 40% in 2015. High blood pressure, elevated fasting plasma glucose, dietary risk factors of NCDs, and high body mass index are among the top 10 risk factors that drive the most death and disability combined. It has been estimated that over one-third of all adult deaths are due to NCDs. Currently available, albeit with patchy implementation, are several evidence-based interventions to reduce the burden of NCDs among populations. These include the World Health Organization (WHO) ‘Best Buys’ (e.g., increasing excise taxes and prices on tobacco products, and on alcoholic beverages), so-called due to their cost-effectiveness and feasibility for combating NCDs in LMICs. Reducing sugar consumption through effective taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages is considered an effective intervention. In Ghana, stakeholders across multiple agencies have endorsed the WHO Best Buys for controlling exposure to harmful products such as alcohol, tobacco, and unhealthy diets. Tax-related NCD prevention interventions exist for alcohol and tobacco, but those linked to unhealthy diets such as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) tax do not exist. Using advocacy and scholar activism (often understood as deliberate effort toward change-making through scholarly activities such as research or expository, or explanative writing/communication), this project will create a favourable environment and stakeholder buy-in for food-related fiscal policies (e.g., SSB tax) in Ghana. The relevance and urgency of this initiative derive from our scanning, and appreciation, of the local context. The Ministry of Health is also currently engaging both state and non-state actors on the potential development of a food-based double-duty policy bundle to assure healthier diets in Ghana. Thus, the time is right for the proposed evidence-based advocacy.
1. To identify a realistic legal pathway to enact SSB tax in Ghana
2. To generate, curate, and avail evidence to support advocacy, scholar activism, and to counter opposition from food & beverage industry actors
3. To strengthen the coalition-building, stakeholder sensitization, media advocacy, policy advocacy, and evidence dissemination capacity of coalition members toward SSB tax advocacy.
4. To implement communication and media advocacy in support of the most appropriate and feasible pathway to enact an SSB tax in Ghana.