Nephrologist, Dr. Elliot Tenkorang Annor has urged Ghanaians to actively seek wellness rather than wait to be ill before visiting a health center.
According to him, most Ghanaians revel in the fact that they are active and have never visited a hospital before rather than making regular visits to the hospital to check on their health.
This he says has led to people reporting to hospitals with advanced stages of illnesses which could have been easily prevented had they been there much earlier.
He stated that just as individuals take an interest in knowing their shoe size and waist size, they should equally be interested in knowing their weight, their sugar level and blood pressure level, at least.
“We should know our numbers as individuals. Now if we know our shoe size, if we know probably our bra size, our waist size, whatever it is like we should always know our numbers.
“Now indeed you cannot walk around not knowing what your weight is because you might not know that for the past week you have been gaining a lot of weight for which you need to do something about it.
“If you don’t check your blood pressure, you would not know that that blood pressure is at 240 or whatever until sometimes you’re lucky and it gives you a headache,” he said.
Speaking on JoyFM’s Super Morning Show, Dr Annor stressed that knowing these is very important to avoiding non-communicable diseases as they often occur with little to no symptoms.
“Most of these chronic non-communicable diseases unfortunately don’t give symptoms. So if we are in a culture where somebody will tell you ‘o doctor, I don’t get sick so I have never been’ in fact they get excited saying ‘I have never visited a facility before’;
“And then the first time you’re seeing them they’ve gotten something chronic which they’re going to need some medication or some intervention that is super expensive which I believe if we had seen them a year ago or two years ago probably we would have been able to change the dynamics.
“We need to be careful about our health, we need to know that without health as a country, we are nothing. We cannot do anything without our health,” he said.
Corroborating Dr Annor’s assertion, Kwame Asiedu Sarpong, a D&D Fellow on Public Health at CDD-Ghana, said Ghanaians are reluctant to go to hospitals.
Citing data from the Health Ministry, he said, “As of 2021, which is the latest data the Ministry of Health has, our out-patient per capita which is the number of times on average a Ghanaian will visit a health practitioner was 1.12.
“Which means the average Ghanaian seeks healthcare once a year. Ordinarily, it should be about four, which means you seek health care once every quarter.”