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German Queen Mother made Ambassador Extraordinaire

By GNA

December 14, 2010
Hohoe, Dec 14, GNA - Mamaga Ngoyifiaga Akosua I, Paramount Queen Mother of SASADU Traditional Areas, has been designated Ambassador Extraordinaire on Buruli Ulcer disease by the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

A letter signed by Dr Elias K. Sory, the Director General of GHS spelt out terms as assisting the Ministry of Health to mobilize resources to help control the disease.

It called for support for advocacy initiatives to heighten high level awareness and advice on the disease based on international exposure and best practices.

It also asked for strong partnership with stakeholders, particularly the traditional authorities to mobilize community resources and support for control activities.

Buruli ulcer is a flesh-eating and bone-crushing bacterial infection that each year affects thousands of patients in the 10 regions of Ghana, mostly children under 15 years of age.

Though a global plague except in Europe, in Africa its concentration is along the West African corridor from Guinea extending to Central and Southern Africa including Tanzania and Angola.

The disease could be controlled and cured if detected early but imposes a serious economic burden on households and on health care systems.

For example, in Ghana the average cost of treating a case exceeds the per capita government spending on health care.

The impact of the disease on the few health facilities in the affected areas is enormous. The long hospital stay (more than three months) represents a huge loss in productivity for adult patients and family caregivers and loss of educational opportunities for children.

Dr Edwin Ampadu, Programme Manager, National Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, said early detection made the disease curable without surgery making treatment therefore economical.

He said the disease, still under scientific research and investigation is another health problem, which needed equal attention from major stakeholders.

Mamaga Akosua, a German entrepreneur and social worker known in private life as Cornelia von Wulfing, has been the development Paramount Queen of areas comprising Saviefe, Akrofu, Sovie and Alavanyo in the Volta Region.

She has been instrumental in the provision of health infrastructure, particularly the construction of clinics at Maase, and soliciting for medical equipment for the Nkonya Clinic and renovation of Dodi Papase Clinic through the German Embassy, Accra and the German Rotary Doctors' Brigade, carrying out healthcare outreaches in parts of the Volta and Eastern regions.

On Buruli ulcer, Mamaga Akosua has liaised with and brought doctors from the Bernhard-Nocht Institute, Hamburg, one of the leading European institutions for tropical medicine to track the disease in the Volta Region.

Other focuses of her Foundation and humanitarian projects are education, peace and security and income generating activities.

GNA