Utah Valley Global Health Group

A blog about global health for those living in Utah Valley and their friends.

Chronic Disease in Ghana: The Lost Focus by Brooke Holmes

Posted by benjamincrookston on April 8, 2008

A recently published article by the Ghana Health Service notes that hypertension affects nearly one out of every five Ghanaian adults. The 2003 Ghana Demographic and Health Surveys show that there are more obese women (25.3%) than malnourished women (9%) in Ghana. This statistic is quite staggering. More people in Ghana are becoming subject to hypertension due to unhealthy lifestyles. From an international perspective, it appears that not enough focus is being placed on chronic disease in Ghana. However, worthy of note is the fact that the Ministry of Health in Ghana announced a paradigm shift in 2005 from “curative to preventive services” and aims to empower communities to adopt healthy lifestyles.

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3 Responses to “Chronic Disease in Ghana: The Lost Focus by Brooke Holmes”

  1. chads said

    The global health dynamics are certainly changing. My first thought is: At what point does the global health situation become “acceptable”? That is, it seems that health problems in developing countries is changing (to some degree, in some places) from problems of immunizations and clean water to high-fat diets and smoking. When does it cease being a human rights/advocacy issue, and turn into “simply” a public health issue?

    (For example, as an ER doc, I witness health “inequities” every day: some people live further away from a trauma center than others, etc. In my mind, these don’t seem to be human rights issues.)

  2. Maren Reynolds said

    I discovered the same problem in Ethiopia while doing research for a paper. My first thought was that chronic diseases would not be a large problem in Ethiopia because they are so “Western.” After reading a few articles, however, I realized that chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes are growing problems in developing countries. I read one article published by Umeå University that said that chronic diseases “concentrate among the poor,” and this is true because they are the ones who cannot afford or access health care.

    In Ethiopia the health care system is so underdeveloped that it cannot cope with the full scale of infectious and poverty diseases, let alone chronic ones. Until the government provides a better system for its people nothing will change. There are some groups, such as the Jimma University Hospital in southwest Ethiopia, that are experimenting with chronic disease treatment and they are having success.

    Chad brings up a good point in his comment, one that I have been wondering about for a while. It is a tough call, because on one hand we have the responsibility to help those who are suffering throughout the world, but there is certainly a difference between a sick child and someone who smoked their way to cancer. Morally I do not know where to draw the line between human rights and “simple” public health. The governments of the countries should be primarily responsible by providing health care and conducting education programs about healthy behaviors, because without their comprehensive support little will be able to change. Brooke’s description of Ghana is a good example of this, and hopefully other countries will follow.

  3. yahoo.com said

    This is the fourth article, of urs I actually read through.

    Nevertheless I actually like this 1, Window Shades And Blinds “Chronic Disease in Ghana: The Lost Focus by Brooke Holmes
    Utah Valley Global Health Group” the very best.
    Thank you -Gwen

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