10.05.2005 General News

Ghana marks Africa Day on the sickle cell disease

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Sunyani (B/A) May 10, GNA- Dr Kwasi Asumin Appiah, National President of the Sickle Cell Association of Ghana, on Tuesday debunked the perception that the sickle cell disease was linked to witchcraft and rather called for concerted efforts to manage it.

Speaking on the theme: "Sickle Cell Ghana - Need For a National Policy", at Africa Day, commemorated to create awareness on the disease in Sunyani, Dr Appiah emphasized that sickle cell is a genetic disease that affects approximately two percent of all newborn babies in the country. He said even though the disease was not curable, it could be controlled to help improve the lifespan of the patient.

Dr Appiah appealed to the Ghana Health Service to establish sickle cell clinics in the regional hospitals for priority attention on the disease.

"Sickle cell disease is a cause of distress in many families in Ghana. It therefore deserves much better recognition than it gets at present," he said emphasising that, "Sickle cell patients can be as intelligent and resourceful as other persons".

Alhaj Dr Mohammed Bin Ibrahim, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of Health Services, expressed the need for the strengthening of the capabilities of every health institutions in the fight against the disease as part of a national crusade.

Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Regional Minister, appealed to sickle cell patients to join the various sickle cell associations in order to seek regular advice and counselling.

Dr Charles Flincher Jolloto, WHO Country Representative emphasized the need for the disease to be diagnosed early to reduce the mortality rate associated with it.

Mrs Jemima Dennis-Antwi, Health Communication Specialist and Genetic Counsellor said the African Day was the outcome of a resolution adopted by representatives from 13 African countries who met in Cotonou, Benin in an effort to create awareness about the disease. The celebration of the Day coincided with the inauguration of the Regional branch of the Sickle Cell Association.

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