Apathy of gov't, a reason for high record of disease
President of the sickle cell foundation Professor Kwaku Ohene Frimpong has revealed that an intervention to screen newborn babies has become stagnant over the last decade due to lack of funds.
It is estimated that about a quarter of Ghanaians live with the condition unknowingly.
According to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana, government has shown no efforts in helping to manage the condition, especially amongst children.
“It is a disease that we know in sub-Saharan Africa half of the children born with the disease, at least half die by five years of age, but because we don’t collect data in our countries about this disease, we don’t even monitor the impact that is having on public health, here anytime a child dies suddenly from malaria, we say it’s from malaria, but sickle cell children die from infections much more than they die from malaria," he said.
The paediatric haematologist at the Pennsylvania university appealed to government to put measures in place to control the disease.
“So government should have the policy of how to manage the disease, what are we going to do about the disease, the newborn screening that we started here in Ghana before any other country in Africa, we have become stagnant, for almost the last ten years we have not increased the number of children we test a year…
Testing on goes on only in Kumasi area, the same places that we started the research back in 1995, we have not spread anywhere because the government has not given us the money to do the screening,” he appealed.
Speaking on a Kumasi-based Ultimate Radio, Prof. Ohene Frimpong indicated that the Foundation now solicits for funds from corporate institutions.
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