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03.07.2004 General News

Set up Buruli Ulcer Fund - MOH urged

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Apromase (Ash), Jul 03, GNA - The Ministry of Health (MOH) has been urged to take a second look at the exemption policy with the view of setting up a special fund for the treatment of Buruli Ulcer. Dr Kofi Asare, Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, said the creation of the fund would facilitate and enhance the prompt payment of bills of Buruli Ulcer patients.

He was speaking at the commissioning of the first phase of the 7.5 billion-cedi Global Evangelical Mission Specialist Hospital at Apromase in the Ejisu-Juaben district, on Friday, attended by Mr Yaw Ahenkora Afrifa, the Ejisu-Juaben District Chief Executive. The first phase of the project, which cost 1.5 billion cedis, comprises two theatres, a male, female and children's wards as well as an Out-Patients Department (OPD).

The Global Evangelical Church of Ghana is undertaking the project funded by the American Leprosy Mission (ALM). "The current situation in which the buruli ulcer is lumped up with other diseases under the exemption policy makes it difficult to promptly pay for the treatment of Buruli Ulcer patients in view of the huge expenditure involved and the fact that other diseases have to also be considered," Dr Asare stated.

He appealed to individuals and groups to team up with the MOH and the Ghana Health Service to device preventive measures to help in the early identification of people who develop nodules for their early removal before they matured into full Buruli Ulcer.

By helping to remove such nodules, people who would have otherwise have the nodules developing into Buruli Ulcer and dehumanising them will be saved from such hazards, he said.

In an address read on his behalf, Mr S.K. Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, said even though the government's overtures to health workers to stay and work in the country may not be adequate, it was crucial for them to sacrifice a bit and stay.

He noted that already the government had come out with an allowance known as "difficult areas allowance" for health workers willing to be posted to such areas, which would be implemented soon. The Right Reverend Dr E.K. Gbodzoe, Moderator of the Global Evangelical Church, said the Church would not focus on the spiritual well being of humanity alone but would embark on socio-economic evangelistic projects as well.

Mr Jim Lyan, Chief Financial Officer of the ALM, commended the Church for venturing into the treatment of Buruli Ulcer and gave the assurance ALM would continue its partnership in helping to treat buruli ulcer patients.

Nana Adum Amankwah, Apromasehene, expressed his readiness to increase the 20 plots of land released for the hospital project to 100. 03 Jul 04