The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has decried the surge in obesity among the Ghanaian population on the occasion of the launch of this year's World Pharmaceutical Day (WPD), in Accra yesterday.
Consequently, it has set the next one year to increase sensitisation and awareness among the public on obesity and overweight complications to help reduce the disease burden and maintain a healthy population.
"To start with, from September 25 to October 25, this year, all community pharmacies across the country will be offering free Body Mass Index (BMI) checks and offer appropriate counselling on obesity for all clients who will be willing to take advantage of the service," the Vice President of the PSGH, Mr Kwabena Asante Offei, said.
Marked every September 25, WPD celebrates the contribution of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists to healthcare delivery, global health outcomes and nation building.
This year's commemoration on the theme; "Pharmacy united in action for a healthier world," aims at showcasing the positive impact of diverse pharmaceutical expertise on health around the world and to further strengthen solidarity within the profession.
Obesity, Mr Offei indicated, was gradually becoming a serious public health concern globally, contributing significantly to the development of several chronic diseases such as type II diabetes mellitus, hypertension, some cancers, asthma and psychological stress, among others.
Making reference to estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO), he said at least 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.
"In Ghana, there is a high and rising prevalence of overweight and obesity among Ghanaian adults. A systematic review and meta-analysis by a renowned pharmacist, Richard Ofori-Asenso and his colleagues indicates that nearly 43 per cent Ghanaian adults are either overweight or obese, particularly among those living in urban and peri-urban areas.
"They conclude and I concur, that the possible implications of the obesity epidemic in Ghana on current and future population health, burden of chronic diseases, health care spending and broader economy could be enormous for a country still battling many infectious and parasitic diseases," he stated.
Mr Offei assuring that pharmacists would continue to be at the service of the populace urged "every Ghanaian to have a personal pharmacist whom they can call upon anytime for advice, counselling and health information particularly on medications they take either prescribed or over the counter."
"We urge everyone to demand to see the Pharmacist anytime you visit a pharmacy and together we will deliver on our motto as truly friends of the human race."
The Director of Pharmaceutical Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr Mrs Joycelyn Azeez, lauded the PSGH for the initiative on obesity and encouraged Ghanaians to adopt healthy eating habits to reduce the threat.
She explained that the surge in other non-communicable diseases in the country, was largely related to obesity hence "our decision to settle on it to educated the public on obesity. It is quite a neglected area yet very dangerous and we hope within the one year, we will have an impact of people reducing their weight and it will be translated into health."
Prior to the launch, members of the society embarked on a health walk from the El-Wak stadium through to 37 and back, to improve their fitness.