The Ministry of Health (MoH) in partnership with Novo Nordisk has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement an initiative targetted at defeating diabetes in the country, especially among children and the aged.
According to Novo Nordisk, the Danish organiaation that have been driving change to defeat diabetes for almost 100 years across the world, the two-fold initiative is aimed at changing diabetes in children and providing insulin for seniors.
The project, dubbed iCARE (Capacity, Affordability, Reach and Empowerment), has the ambition of accelerating access to treatment for patients living with diabetes by leveraging the four key areas of building capacity of healthcare professionals, making insulin affordable to patients, facilitating reach, and empowerment to help patients defeat diabetes.
The first component of the project, which is ‘Changing diabetes in children (CDiC)’, is aimed at playing a key role in awareness-creation with parents and guardians to ensure appropriate care and early diagnoses with children. It is targetted at reaching 1,500 children with type-1 diabetes over the next five-years.
On the other hand, the second component, which is ‘Insulin for Seniors’, seeks to provide holistic diabetes care and safeguard insulin access for seniors from the age of 60. It targets 4,000 elderly people over the next three years, working with 21 hospitals.
Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu – in his address at the MoU-signing ceremony, indicated that the MoH plans to institutionalise these interventions into the general framework for management and treatment of diabetes, in order to reduce complications associated with diabetes, coordinate training of health care professionals, and create accessibility to quality drugs and diagnostic equipment.
“This intervention comes at a time when the ministry has dedicated a lot of resources to COVID-19 management. People living with diabetes are among the groups at most risk of having complications from COVID-19 infection. Therefore, this initiative could not have come at a better time.
“Today’s event is a continuation of the collaboration between Novo Nordisk, Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and the National Catholic Health Service, which started in 2014 to set up six diabetes support centres,” he said.
Corporate Vice President, Africa & Middle East Business Area-Novo Nordisk, Emil Larsen, reiterated that his outfit is committed to safeguarding affordable diabetes care to vulnerable patient groups across the Middle East and Africa via affordable plans.
“It is a motivating initiative for Novo Nordisk to embark on such an exercise to reach more people in remote communities of Africa and the Middle East. Because we do not have control over the mark-up price of insulin on the Ghanaian market, this initiative is also to provide insulin to government health institutions at the minimum price,” he said.
The MoU also includes an opportunity to train doctors and health professionals in remote areas on how to manage diabetes; and to store, handle and administer insulin without making the insulin lose its efficacy. It will also mob patients with diabetes from localities and empower them to be in charge of their own health.
Also present at the MoU-signing event were the Deputy Head of Mission, Danish Embassy, Birgit la Cour Madsen; Dr. Mary Efua Commeh, Head of Non-Communicable Disease Programme-GHS; Chief Director-MoH, Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari; and Dr. Laila Adutwum, Ghana Society of Paediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes (GSPED).