One unique aspect of Election 2008 campaigning is the involvement of the wives of the presidential candidates and their running mates on the sides of their husbands but often in a refreshing, interesting, partisan and not-so-partisan approach.
This was very much in evidence yesterday when Mrs. Lordina Mahama, wife of Mr. John Dramani Mahama, NDC running mate, called at the offices of ADM to familiarize herself with the workings of the private press and also to interact with members of Sharecare Ghana, a support group of people suffering from autoimmune diseases which shares office space with ADM.
Ms. Nana Yaa Agyeman, the Coordinator of Sharecare Ghana, who is also the wife of ADM Managing Editor, Alhaji Harruna Attah has for the past 13 years been afflicted with an autoimmune condition that has disabled some of her independence.
In a short welcome interaction, she expressed joy and gratitude that Mrs. Mahama had taken an interest in her NGO's activities. She told Mrs. Mahama, who was accompanied by former MP, Madam Hannah Tetteh-Kpoda and Madam Sherry Mahama Dundu, a sister to Mr. John Mahama that one of her group's objectives is to campaign for persons suffering from autoimmune diseases to be recognized under the National Heath Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
“We are not recognized under the NHIS; we want to be recognized there and some kind of support for those who are severely disabled; there is no homecare system for such sufferers and those who care for them – spouses, parents, or other relations don't know how to go about it”.
Sharecare Ghana, she said is also working towards getting the appropriate institutions to do research “into these conditions to find out why they are affecting us…collectively the numbers are big, even though they say they are rare conditions.” She said the figures so far show a preponderance of women sufferers.
She disclosed that the Noguchi Medical Research Institute has agreed to undertake the research and has even already prepared a working document which has a funding component of GH¢ 66,000 spread over 4 years.
“We are trying to raise that money because there is no government budget for it, so we have to raise it, we have done a proposal, we've decided to go round cup in hand to raise this money,” she said.
Responding, Madam Hannah Tetteh-Kpoda said “because we have had the challenges of dealing with things from malaria and hygiene related diseases and the much more common ones like cholera and kwashiorkor, we haven't paid enough attention to all of these 'modern' diseases, including the various kinds of cancers that also need management…I think we have not paid attention simply because they are outside of our normal attention.”
She said she was highly encouraged by the work Sharecare Ghana is doing and hoped the charity would succeed in raising the necessary awareness.
Mrs. Lordina Mahama personally donated an undisclosed amount to the charity and said she had been deeply touched by what she heard about the charity and would therefore lend a hand anytime Sharecare felt she could be of use in their advocacy or fund-raising activities.
Sharecare Ghana is non-governmental support group for people in Ghana with rare neuroimmunologic conditions, including Transverse Myelitis, Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), Optic Neuritis, and Neuromyelitis Optica (Devic's disease) and Multiple Sclerosis. It was launched earlier this year.
It aims among other things to create awareness about neuroimmunologic diseases, facilitating visits and meetings of people with rare neuroimmunologic conditions and their families, getting specialists to give educational talks to members, acting as an advocacy group to put pressure on local and national health authorities to treat neuroimmunologic diseases with the seriousness deserved in the national health care delivery system and advocacy for subsidized long-term drug treatment.