Shift from curative to prevention to curtail rapid increase in health expenditure – Prof. Aaron Abuosi

An Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Ghana Business School is advocating a shift from curative to prevention and health promotion, to curtail the rapid increase in health expenditure.

Prof. Aaron Abuosi said health expenditure in Ghana per individ­ual was rising exponentially, from estimated $76 in 2019 and projected to increase to $172 in 2050.

“This is largely driven by the rise in Non -Communicable Diseases (NCDs) including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, sickle cell, asthma, which are costly and difficult to manage, as the country is mov­ing from developing country to a developed country, that comes with changes in lifestyle,” he said.

Prof. Abuosi was giving a talk on NCDs to Accra Branch Old NAVASCAN Union (Nabia) of Navrongo Senior High School at their monthly meeting held on Sunday.

Also an old NAVASCAN, Prof. Abuosi said the health sector was overwhelmed with expenditure and that Ghana was facing a “ticking time bomb.”

He therefore, expressed the need for the government to put in place concrete policies and programmes to promote physical activity, good nutrition, educate the public to eat locally- produced foods among oth­ers to reduce the exponential rising of health expenditure per capita, as a result of increase in NCDs.

He added that the National Health Insurance Scheme must include health promotion to em­power people to take their health seriously and to reduce cost of curative care.

Explaining further, Prof. Abuosi said Ghana faced a “double burden of disease” of both Communi­cable Disease (CDs) otherwise known as infections disease such as malaria, cholera, pneumonia and typhoid fever and NCDs, adding that CDs were fast giving way to NCDs, driving health expenditure because the NCDs were difficult and costly to manage.

He added that Ghana was going through “Demographic Transi­tion” from high birth and death rate to low birth and low birth rate occasioned by advancement in medicine, which also came with “Epidemiology Transition” from CDs to NCDs adding that “the more a country develops, the more it moves away from CDs to NCDs.”

Situating his talk within a decade backed by statistics, the health policy and management expert said between 2009 and 2019 NCDs had been on the rise in the country, while CDs were on the ascendancy.

He said though malaria was still a major public health problem, the incidence of malaria in Ghana had reduced by 33.9 per cent within the period, while stroke had increased by 35.2 per cent.

He said in 2009, diabetes was the number 10 cause of death, but moved to number nine position in 2019, adding that infectious diseases as lower respiratory infection had reduced by 0.5 per cent, neonatal disorder by 18.6 per cent , HIV/AIDS by 32.6 per cent, Tuberculosis by 12.0 per cent and diarrhea diseases by 13.1 per cent.


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