Government has been tasked to among other things, raise taxes on tobacco and tobacco products as a means of discouraging its use among the citizenry.
According to medical Doctors who took turns to speak during this year’s World Family Doctor Day Celebration held at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Thursday, many lives were being lost to smoke-related health conditions; a situation they describe as needless and preventable.
This year’s celebration was on the theme; “Smoking Cessation”.
Vice President of the Society of Family Physicians of Ghana ( SOFPOG), Dr. Gerhard Ofori –Amankwa revealed that tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and at least 69 are known to cause cancer. He recounted the devastating effects of cancers, respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive disorders on families and individuals and urged the government to fully implement the WHO Framework Control on Tobacco Control.
He also appealed to Ghanaians to avoid the habit of smoking altogether considering how difficult it is to quit.
President of the Society of Family Physicians of Ghana; Dr. Nii Aryee appealed to MMDAs to sponsor Medical Doctors within their jurisdictions to undertake courses to become family Doctors who will work in the districts. He stressed the importance of having family Doctors manning various health facilities. “It will reduce the incidents of referrals to the tertiary centres. Because it’s family based, I know you, I know your sisters and the industry you work in, so if you are ill, I will relate all these things to you to make a better diagnosis”, he explained.
Dr. Fred Bedzrah; a family Doctor at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital explains that as part of the celebration, family doctors have been to some Senior High Schools to educate them on Smoking Cessation, screening sessions and free clinics with free medication for over 700 patients in two farming communities in the Western region. “Today at the OPD, we are screening all patients who have reported free of charge. Some of them will get free medication. Some of the drug companies are supporting us with free medication”, he explained and hoped that the celebration will be bigger next year.