Health workers alarmed at excessive celebrations
Health workers in some of the major hospitals in Accra have expressed concern at football-related injuries in the national capital since the beginning of the 26th Africa Cup of Nations (Ghana 20(8).
Enquiries by the Daily Graphic at those hospitals reveal that two persons have been killed, while others have sustained various degrees of injury in post-match celebrations.
Thousands of Ghanaian fans poured unto the streets to celebrate the Black Stars' 2-1 victory over the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their quarter-final clash.
In one of the reported cases at the La General Hospital, Mensah Tetteh, a 35-year-old resident of La, in a happy mood, was said to have jumped from a height and crashed to the ground.
In the process, Tetteh broke his neck and twisted his leg so badly that he could not survive to watch the next match of the Black Stars as he was pronounced dead by doctors at the hospital.
In another reported case at the Police Hospital, a 14-year-old boy, Salifu Nasiru, was knocked down by a speeding vehicle at Abavana Down, Kotobabi in Accra.
Salifu was pronounced dead by medical officials when he was rushed to the hospital.
In another reported case at the hospital, Police Constable Class 2 Frank Owusu was head-butted by an irate driver when Ghana played Namibia on January 24, 2008, causing a hollow in his (Owusu's) forehead or what medical officials described as a depression of the frontal skull.
Constable Owusu was later referred to a neuro-surgeon at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) for further treatment.
The Co-ordinator of the Ghana 2008 Medical Tearn at the Police Hospital, ASP Richard Gubillah, told the Daily Graphic that Constable Owusu was directing vehicular traffic near the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium on the day of the incident, adding that the culprit was arrested by the police.
In the face of such violent and bloody celebrations, officials at the various hospitals urged football fans to be moderate in their celebrations to avoid further fatalities, especially as the Black Stars inched towards the ultimate prize.
In another reported case at the hospital, a German football fan suffered a severe cut on the hand by an assailant while coming out of the stadium, before his (German's) Camera was snatched from him.
In spite of the injury, the German managed to get hold of his assailant, but before the police could arrive on the scene to apprehend him the, suspect had already passed the camera on to an accomplice, who got lost in the crowd.
ASP Gubillah said another reported case was on January 20, 2008 when one Joseph Odonkor was knocked down by a motorbike while riding a bicycle, as a result of which he (Odonkor) suffered a head injury and was later referred to the 37 Military Hospital.
On the same day, a 50-year-old woman, Susana Asare, suffered an injury when she was assaulted with a bottle at the stadium.
ASP Gubillab, advised football fans to be extremely careful about the way they celebrated victory.
Briefing the Daily Graphic on the reported cases at the La General Hospital, a senior medical officer in charge of the Paediatric Ward, Dr Dorcas Anfom, said all the cases reported at the hospital were on days when Ghana played matches.
She, however, indicated that the number of cases reported after the Ghana-Nigeria match
last Sunday was the highest so far.
Dr Anfom said on January 20, 2008, after Ghana played Guinea in the opening match, two children were brought in with broken heads, after falling off a "trotro".
She also spoke about the case of a dislocated shoulder but said the victim was treated and discharged, while in another case of broken clubicle the victim was referred to the 37 Military Hospital.
Dr Anfom advised football fans not to lose their heads when jubilating.
At the Ridge Hospital, there were no reported cases of death or major injuries.
The Medical Director of the hospital, Dr George Acquaye, said the hospital was ready to handle any kind of emergency that mjght arise during the tournament.
The Ridge Hospital has trained 14 nurses and 18 doctors, nine of whom are for medical emergencies and the other nine for surgical emergencies.
One critical challenge facing all the health facilities is the lack of logistics to deal with some of the cases reported.
The La General Hospital and the Police Hospital, for instance, are not equipped with certain surgical facilities, for which reason they had to refer some of their cases to either the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital or the 37 Military Hospital.