Dr Isaac O. K. Barnor Jr (seated1st left) in a group photo with dignitaries and participants at the New Year School
Dr Isaac O. K. Barnor Jr (seated1st left) in a group photo with dignitaries and participants at the New Year School

Men’s health forum defines men’s health as one arising from physiological, social, cultural or environmental factors that have a specific impact on boys or men and/or where particular interventions are required for boys or men in order to achieve improvements in health and well-being at the individual or population level.

Dr Isaac O. K. Barnor Jr (seated1st left) in a group photo with dignitaries and participants at the New Year School
Dr Isaac O. K. Barnor Jr (seated1st left) in a group photo with dignitaries and participants at the New Year School

“We have to look to a health service that is aware of its potential in supporting men to make better life choices and to provide services that can have a positive effect on their health and wellbeing,” he said adding that “ICT definitely has a role to play in achieving this goal.”

Dr Barnor Jr was speaking in Accra during a panel discussion on the topic “ICT and Men’s Health” at the ongoing 67th New Year School and Conference on the theme “Promoting Universal Health for Sustainable Development in Ghana: Is the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) the Game Changer”.

He said men’s health was an area that has been poorly researched and studied; stating that men’s health is not only urogenital issues as initially perceived.

He said research reveals that the average life expectancy for men is approximately four years less than women.

He said there is higher rates of death in young men; adding that the causes of male death vary greatly with age.

Dr Barnor Jr said accidents, injury and poisoning, along with suicide account for almost 60 per cent of deaths in men between 15-34 years; whereas, heart disease and cancers are the greatest cause of death for men aged 35-54yrs.

He said significant inequalities in life expectancy between men exist in relation to social class and geographic location.

He said men have a higher proportion of deaths than women across a wide range of major diseases and are twice as likely as women to develop and die from the most common cancers affecting both sexes.

Dr Barnor Jr said the rates of testicular and prostate cancers have increased significantly since the 1980s.

He said men’s health is biological – about male specific anatomy and physiology; also related to risk-taking – about men’s engagement in potentially dangerous behaviours; and similarly related to masculinity – the process of being or becoming a man usually negatively influence men’s health practices and outcomes.

Dr Barnor Jr said political will and involvement in men’s health issues are required as policies must be drawn up as it pertains to women’s health issues.

He mentioned coronary heart diseases, prostate disease, laryngeal disease, testicular disease, inguinoscrotal hernias, sexual dysfunction and depression are areas where such policies could be developed.

He said more men suffer from depression than women, due to the popular adage in our society that a man does not shed tears.

Dr Barnor Jr said it is, however, noted that in our parts of the world and in many other parts, men’s health clinics incorporated into primary health care services fail to attract men.

He said ICT is a fundamental redesign of health care delivery; and its design and applications in health care delivery should not be driven by technology features, but by the user needs.

Mr Abdul-Rashid Imoro, the Programme Manager of Savanna Signatures – Ghana, said the quality of health care for expectant mothers is improved through the use of ICT by health professionals, and young men and women asserting their rights to sexual and reproductive health and rights information.

GNA

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