June 13, 2024
P.O.Box 613ER Gombilla House, Lamashegu Market, Tamale, Northern Region

Prioritize genetic diseases in Ghana – GHS told

Professor Fiifi Ofori-Acquah, President of the sickle cell foundation of Ghana and Dean of the School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences of the University of Ghana has underscored the need for government to invest in research into human genetics diseases in order to create a database of the Ghanaian genome. He said there was a growing need of such an investment owing to the seemingly neglect of sickle cell and other genetic diseases in Ghana.

Professor Fiifi over the past months through the launch of the GhGenome project in August 2022 has been holding public lectures and free health screening exercises across the country to create awareness and sensitise the public on genetic diseases and the GhGenome project.

Speaking to journalists after a public lecture at the University for Development Studies in Tamale, the director of the GhGhana project said genetic conditions are emerging critical health issue the nation must invest to prioritise. He bemoaned the lack of comprehensive screening programmes for sickle cell disease in Ghana and has there urged the Ghana Health Service to institute such initiatives.

The public lecture was followed by a free screening exercise for sickle cell, prostate cancer, breast cancer and other diseases for the people of Tamale at the Sagnarigu Naa’s Palace. The exercise drew over 50 medical team comprising doctors and nurses from both Accra and Tamale.

Dr. Amma Banneh-Akwasi Kuma, Hematologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana medical school described the free screening exercise as successful. She stressed that most the adults who were screened had high blood pressure. She also noted that most the young people screened had waist problems while some of the children were suffering poor nutrition. She said some of the people who were screened were advised to seek further comprehensive medical examination at the nearest health facility to fully understand their situation. She encouraged the residents of the northern region to frequently visit health facilities to check their health status.

Ibrahm Seidu, one of the beneficiaries of the free screening exercise commended the GhGenome project for prioritizing the health of the residents of Tamale. He appealed to government to develop a comprehensive programme that will prioritize the screeningand treatment of sickle cell and genetic diseases.

About the GhGenome project

The GhGenome aims to educate the general Ghanaian population about the critical role played by genetics in health, wellbeing and diseases. Thus, promoting the need to decipher the Ghanaian genome, increase awareness of common genetic disorders, advocate for individuals to know their genetic health status and improve access to genetic health services in Ghana. This includes a community engagement and health outreach programme that provides genetic health screening services and education to communities within the country with the utmost goal of making genetic health services available to all. In view of our mission to decode the Ghanaian genome, the team has been embarking on regional tours in collaboration with paramount chiefs, traditional leaders and public health institutions, to offer genetic health screening services at the various festivals within the communities they visit. These services come at no cost to the citizenry.

Story by Ibrahim Angaangmeni Alhassan

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