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24.12.2010 Health

The GNF and others like it will soon be dead unless… – Justice Inkumsah-Abban

By Gary Al-Smith (GNF)
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The Ghana Neurological Foundation (GNF) has just taken another significant step toward its death. For those of you who were at its Fundraising, you saw how much was raised at the end of the night: a sorry sum of just over 1000 Ghana cedis in cash.

This is for a body that volunteers time and resources to take care of sick and vulnerable people who have largely been ignored by the rest of us. The cost of each person's holistic treatment is usually far more than the cash that was raised.

Former High Court judge Justice Inkumsah-Abban has a child who has been afflicted with neurological problems for many years. It is therefore expected that she would know what she is talking about when she laments the current state of support for agencies taking care of people with neurological ailments.

She was at the Aviation Social Centre with her boy to put their weight behind the Foundation, which is fighting for its life due to the lack of support from the larger society.

The GNF established the Centre for Neurology, Medicine & Surgery at Sakumono in Tema a few years ago but may soon collapse from the strain of its operations. The Centre is the one of its kind in terms of out-patient facilities. Justice Inkumsah-Abban reminded attendees on the role of bodies like the GNF.

“They (charities, foundations and NGOs) exist because governments alone cannot provide all public services to its citizens, therefore others must of necessity step in to help people organize and develop their communities through self-help and for that matter promote education and healthcare because in the long run, it is good for the country.”

She was also emphatic in her outlook that unless support comes from somewhere, benevolent agencies like the GNF will soon wither. Every day, more acute cases of cerebral palsy, seizures, epilepsy and so on flock to the Centre for treatment by its lead physician, Dr. Richard Nyako. Now well into his seventies, Dr. Nyako is unable to go round soliciting for financial aid as he used to.

“We are small and the task is great. We need help to keep our children alive. We need help to keep our people from visiting prayer camps and herbalists who generally do not know what they are doing.”

That evening, the fundraising also raised about 6000 Ghana cedis. Sadly, these were just pledges which, as we all know, may well lead to a very long cat-and-mouse chase from those who made the promises.

If you are reading this, it is likely you know someone who has a neurological disease. In fact, you may know people who “act strangely” but may not know that they have some of the many neurological diseases out there.

The SOS message was also reiterated by Dr. Elias Sory, the Director General of Ghana Health Service. “Ghanaians should be more sensitive toward health charities and foundations for the collective good. The Ghana Heath Service lends it support to agencies like the GNF because though unheralded, they are invaluable in creating a livelier populace.”

It's a pity you were not there to see the mini-documentary on some brave Ghanaians who have fought the scourge attached to these ailments and are making headway in life. Many could not sit still and many more wept.

If you have been touched by this report and want to help, just to go to the GNF's website for more info: or send any queries at all to Dr. Nyako at [email protected]

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