KATH gets centre of excellence in diabetes care

Novo Nordisk in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Royal Danish Embassy in Accra and Palb Pharmaceuticals has set up a Centre of Excellence in Diabetes Care at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi to provide holistic and quality care in the management of diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the non-communicable diseases on the rise in Ghana. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that 257,600 people in Ghana remain undiagnosed, posing an increased risk of complications for the people living with diabetes and have no knowledge of their condition. IDF also projects that 1.32 million Ghanaians will be living with diabetes by 2045.

The establishment of the Centre is part of Novo Nordisk’s Base of the Pyramid project (BoP), which strives to improve access to quality diabetes care and insulin for people in low-and middle-income countries. Novo Nordisk, in the past five years, has collaborated with the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and the National Catholic Health Service to provide diabetes services to thousands of patients through their one-stop-shop Diabetes Support Centres.

There are nine of these Diabetes Support Centres in Ghana including two in Kumasi – Manhyia District Hospital and Suntreso Government Hospital.

The Centre of Excellence will play a key role in diabetes screenings for early diagnosis, management of complcations associated with diabetes, coordinate training of health care professionals and create accessibility to quality insulin and diagnostic equipment at affordable prices for thousands of people in the Kumasi metropolis and beyond.

There will also be a key focus on patient education and raising the level of awareness of the populace about diabetes. The opening of the Centre is a component of an initiative by Novo Nordisk in 2010 called The Base of the Pyramid project. The main objectives of this project are to increase diabetes awareness, support early diagnosis to prevent complications, and increase access to treatment and trained healthcare professionals.

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In an address, the Chief Executive Officer of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Dr. Oheneba Owusu-Danso  said the partnership with Novo Nordisk is very much in line with the aspirations of the hospital to be a centre of excellence in healthcare and will improve health outcomes for the many patients that visit the hospital.

Abigail Chakava, Projects and Public Affairs Manager, Middle Africa Novo Nordisk, stressed that Novo Nordisk is committed to having strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders in the health sector to implement initiatives that improve the lives of patients living with diabetes. She said Novo Nordisk would continue to play a key role in educating patients, training healthcare professionals and strengthening existing healthcare systems. She further emphasized that the focus would be on increasing patient access to quality diabetes care and treatment, ensuring shared value for partners and stakeholders, efficient and reliable supply of affordable quality insulin and advocacy on control and management of diabetes.

Public-private partnerships are key to do this, particularly in countries, where people living with diabetes are insuffiently diagnosed and treated.

Diabetes is unfortunately increasing on the African continent with millions of people being affected by the disease today. This is mainly due to ageing, expanding population and rapid urbanisation with its associated unhealthy diet and reduced exercise.

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One of the key issues with delayed diabetes diagnosis is the increased risk of complications such as kidney damage, heart disease, blindness, neural damage leading to amputations and an overall reduced life expectancy. These late stage complications are also the most costly to treat and can impact the financial situation of an entire family as well as halting overall economic development.

The Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Tove Degnbol in her speech said she and  her outfit were pleased to witness a strong partnership between Novo Nordisk, a Danish world leader in diabetes, and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.

According to her, it is an example of how we can build public-private partnerships for healthcare capacity, transfer medical knowledge, and improve lives for people in Ghana. She therefore   hoped that this collaboration together with increased awareness could help limit cases of diabetes.

Despite the increasing burden of diabetes in both Ghana and the African continent, many diabetes cases can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices such as a balanced diet and daily exercise.

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given the company experience and capabilities that also enable them to help people defeat obesity, haemophilia, growth disorders and other serious chronic diseases. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 41,600 people in 80 countries, and markets its products in more than 170 countries.

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