Ghana is endemic of hepatitis infection-Specialist 0

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classification report has said that Ghana is endemic of hepatitis B infection, Mr Charles Ampong Adjei, A Public Health Specialist and lecturer at the University of Ghana made this known.

He said it was also evident by a recent research finding showing that 12.3 per cent of Ghanaians are living with viral hepatitis B and called for more sustainable action in the country to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.

These and many other factors influenced the development of the first guidelines for the care, treatment, management and support of the people with hepatitis B in 2015 and hepatitis C in 2018 by the WHO, he said.

Mr Adjei made this known to the Ghana News Agency at a two day 2nd Hepatitis Summit, under the theme, “Developing Appropriate Response To The Burden of Viral Hepatitis In Ghana’’ in Accra.

He said the disease was a silent killer, more than HIV and Malaria, and that it slowly degrades a person’ health and places huge economic burden on the affected individual and family.

Mr Adjei, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Hepatitis Alliance of Ghana, A Research Firm, said as the world looks to 2030, and prepares to meet the challenges of the Sustainable Development’ Goals Three, Ghana needs to take the elimination challenge with commitment and force.

He expressed regret that a killer disease such as hepatitis B, had rather received less global and national attention despite its devastating impact on individuals, families, communities and countries.

He said Ghana was one of the countries that included hepatitis B vaccination in its Expanded Programme on immunisation in 2002, of which pentavalent vaccine had been part of the routine vaccination schedule given to every new born at 6,10 and 14 weeks after birth.

“Unfortunately, Ghana is not part of the countries that had initiated and implemented hepatitis B birth dose vaccination as a national policy’’. he said.

“This suggests that new-borns to mother, who are positive for hepatitis B have to wait until they are 6 weeks before they receive protection against the virus, adding that, this is a huge gab in our response to the disease burden in Ghana especially, where mother to child transmission is well documented as the most predominant means of hepatitis B transmission in endemic countries, such as Ghana’’.

The Hepatitis Researcher said cost associated with the implementation of the monovalent birth dose vaccination but in reality, “our inaction could lead to death of these innocent new-borns which he believed would be more costly than the intervention’’.

Mr Adjei said Ghana has no excuse not to protect children from this life threatening disease, especially when effective vaccine known to avert mother to child transmission was available.

He called on the Government to include the comprehensive therapy regimen, and all the laboratory test associated with hepatitis infection particularly, the viral load on the National Health Insurance Scheme to allow many people who die from complications of the disease, as a result of cost, to have life.

Mr Attuahene Kyeremeh, Acting Director of the Ghana Aids Commission (GAC), said the Commission strongly advocates the integrate of hepatitis into HIV treatment, because they are retroviruses, and are transmitted through the same modes, to a large extent, and most cases requires very similar interventions to prevent control and treat them.

He said developing a response for viral hepatitis for Ghana, calls for a strategy strongly aligned with a national policy on the disease.

“It also requires a process through which we define fundamental principles, programmes tailored for priority populations, expected results and the institutional framework to drive the response to the epidemic.

“This calls for evidence based approach where various types of data from variety of sources such as surveillance, implementation science, behavioural survey, special studies and evaluation to establish the determinants of the epidemic.

He said the national strategy should demonstrate full commitment to the global fast-track target of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030, adding that, strong alignment and synergy with global response is the surest way to success.

Dr Florence Naab, a Lecturer at the University of Ghana, who chaired the function, called on health professionals to do serious advocacy to ensure total elimination of the disease.


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Girls Iron Folic Acid Tablets Supplementation (GIFT) programme kick starts Eastern Region 0

The Girls Iron Folic Acid Tablets Supplementation (GIFT) targeted at reducing high anaemia prevalence in the young has been launched in Koforidua.

Under the implementation about 54,000 girls between the ages of 10-19 in schools and out of school in the Eastern Region, would receive a folic acid tablet supplementation routinely to be administered under supervision to reduce anaemia.

At an orientation meeting with stakeholders prior to the launching, Dr Mrs Alberta Britwum-Nyarko, the Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, said statistics show that two out of every five women in the country have anaemia or low blood levels resulting in fatigues, headaches and even death in pregnant women.

She said in young adolescents the immediate effect of “this anaemia or low blood level condition results in poor memory and not doing well in school, whiles the long-term effect results in complications in pregnancies such as premature or stillbirths and even death during delivery”.

Dr Britwum-Nyarko said in order to reduce the high prevalence of anaemia among women and girls, the Ghana Health Service in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) has initiated the GIFT programme to help prevent the dire consequences of anaemia in the society.

Mr Bismarck Sarkodie, the regional Nutrition Officer of the GHS, said research shows that it is important for every woman to prepare her nutritious status very well before pregnancy and this can be done by eating food that contains all the minerals, especially iron.

He said the GIFT programme is, therefore, an intervention to prepare adolescent girls adequately as far as their nutritional status was concerned.

Again, he said some girls lose a lot of blood during menstruation and this also means the loss of a lot of iron which needs to be replaced and appealed to all stakeholders to use every opportunity to educate the public especially mothers to embrace the programme.

Later, Ms Golda Asante, Director of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) on behalf of the Eastern Regional Minister, launched the programme at the Presbyterian Cluster of Schools where folic acid tablets were administered to the school children.



Source: GNA

Special Education Is What Children with Congenital Heart Defects Needs- NGO 0

A project meant to provide exceptional services for kids with inborn Heart Defects (CHDs) before and after surgery has been launched with an appeal on educational establishments to pay special attention to the wants of such children.

Dubbed “Restore a Child’s Heart Project”, the project additionally seeks to advocate for quality and affordable health care for school going kids with such disabilities.
It is being funded by the Centre of Hope global Missions, United Kingdom in collaboration with Dominion Leaders Foundation (DLF), Ghana as the implementers.
The aim is to forestall CHDs, manage its effects and save the lives of Ghanaian and Jamaican kids with such disabilities globally.
Dr Martha Anang, Chief executive officer (CEO) of DLF and executive director of the project, said it’s incumbent on the education sector to plot ideas to make the classroom lively for such kids because research has proven that children with all types of CHD have poorer academic outcomes compared to their peers.

Even those who have early surgery for CHD are known to have impaired development which eventually turns out to have negative effects on their performances and achievements, Dr Anang said.

She said every child has a unique potential but this could not be fully developed if the child did not have good health.

Dr Anan said it was for this reason that the project is being introduced to help eliminate all forms of illnesses that affect school children and hinder their academic performances.

Reverend Dr Nordine Campbell, Chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of the Centre of Hope for global Missions, said that research conducted in 2016, reported that CHDs represent the second major reason behind cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality among young Africans.
However, she said its management was limited in Africa because of the inadequate socio-economic environments coupled with insufficient technical platforms and human resource to handle the incapacity.

Dr Campbell said the project would specifically identify school children with all types of CHDs and provide them with exceptional services needed to help improve their health conditions for better academic performance.

She said a Heart Restore Centre will eventually be built in the Central Region of Ghana to rehabilitate children with CHDs.

Dr Campbell expressed worry about the absence of reliable data on CHDs which made it difficult to estimate the global burden of these conditions on the African continent.

An estimated one million children and about 1.4 million adults are living with CHDs in the United States (US) alone while the British Heart Foundation, Health Promotion Research Group in 2013, reported that one in every 180 babies in the UK are born with a CHD.

“If developed countries like the US and UK have such high prevalence levels of CHDs then one can imagine the situation in Africa”, she lamented and called on other philanthropic   organisations and individuals to help save humanity, particularly, the poor little children in Africa where access to medical assistance in this direction might be non-existent.

Dr Ernest Asiedu, Head of Quality Management Unit at the Ministry of Health, who chaired the program, pledged the Ministry’s support for the project.

An Electrocardiogram (ECG) was done for about 140 children by doctors from the Doctors In Service (DIS) Clinic in Cape Coast to check their heart condition.

Dr Anang was inducted as a Health and Education Ambassador for the project worldwide by the Centre of Hope for Global missions while Dr Campbell was also made an ambassador by International Independence Interdenominational Christian Churches and Ministries (IFIICCM), a US-based organisation.


Source: GNA

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