As part of efforts to reduce obesity rates, a key risk factor to COVID-19 mortality, the Office of the President, in collaboration with the Scholarships Secretariat and Global Health Academy (Brunel University London), over the weekend organised a virtual stakeholder engagement workshop on obesity.
The workshop was a follow up to an initial one held in December last year. The workshop, which was the first of its kind to use a multi-sectoral approach, was to help understand how policymaking on obesity in Ghana happens and who the key actors are.
The programme, also under the auspices of the Office of the President, was once again led by Kingsley Agyemang, a doctoral researcher with the Department of Clinical Sciences at Brunel University, England.
The recent workshop was to identify and conceptualise policy relevant empirical research questions on obesity in Ghana. The brainstorming event was attended by 45 stakeholders from multiple sectors in Ghana.
Mr Kingsley Agyemang, the Lead Researcher and Registrar of Scholarships Secretariat, noted that “only one of the sixty-three empirical studies on determinants of obesity in West Africa examined the role of contextual factors”.
He reiterated that “whilst research using Ghanaian respondents account for about 35% of the publications, the focus on individual characteristics limits the formulation of clear policy guidelines to manage the obesogenicity of the environment.”
Speaking at the event, the Presidential Advisor on Health Matters, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, said “the comprehensive literature review conducted by Mr Agyemang and the Brunel Global Health Academy clearly outlines the gaps in current knowledge on obesity and will drive the obesity research agenda in Ghana.”
For his part, the Deputy Minister for Health, Dr Okoe Boye, said the event fulfils the government’s manifesto promise to institute measures to reduce non-communicable diseases in Ghana. He added: “Consensus building is key to achieving this aim, hence the multi-sectoral approach to garner inputs from academia, general public, public, private and third sectors”.
The workshop is the second in the series of three workshops on obesity, to be held between December 2019 and January 2022. The research underpinning the workshops is conducted by a research team from Brunel Global Health Academy, led by Mr Kingsley Agyemang, Associate Professor Nana Anokye, Professor Subhash Pokhrel and Professor Christina Victor.