Test for sickle cell, seek expert care - Dr Kwabena Oppong Amoako to public
Test for sickle cell, seek expert care - Dr Kwabena Oppong Amoako to public
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Test for sickle cell, seek expert care - Dr Kwabena Oppong Amoako to public

A medical expert with the Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Kwabena Oppong Amoako, is encouraging the general public to get tested for sickle cell disease and seek expert medical attention if necessary.

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He explained that the disease was not inherently fatal, as many individuals who carry it lead normal and healthy lives, emphasising the importance of awareness and proper care in managing the condition.

However, he stressed that unawareness of one's status and failure to seek timely medical attention could lead to numerous health complications and struggles. 

Dr Oppong Amoako, who was speaking at a Sickle Cell Screening and Awareness event organised by GNS Foundation recently, noted that early detection and proper care were crucial to managing the disease effectively.

“Sickle Cell disease is not a guaranteed death sentence. In fact, many carriers have led long, healthy lives, with some even reaching their 90s and beyond. Our facility has seen numerous examples of this, with individuals receiving proper care and guidance.

“Don’t let fear take hold of you.  Knowing your status and seeking early medical attention can make all the difference in avoiding health complications and living a healthy life,” he said.

He noted that while developed countries have made progress in using stem cell transplants to cure the disease, Ghana has not yet adopted this approach due to the high cost involved, making it inaccessible for many patients.

Dedication

He commended the GNS Foundation for their dedication to saving the lives of Ghanaians through their annual school screenings and awareness campaigns, which have greatly contributed to educating the public about the disease and identifying those affected.

Over a hundred students of South Labone Girls Vocational Institute and inmates of the Shelter for Abused Children, Labone, were screened for sickle cell disease at the programme.

According to Sandra Amponsah Ayivor, founder of GNS Foundation, her outfit has been dedicated to the yearly screening of sickle cell disease in schools to create awareness of the devastating effects of the disease and how it has been a major hindrance to the younger generation from reaching their goals.

She explained that people continue to downplay the negative health implications of sickle disease, leaving many to suffer the consequences because they did not take pragmatic measures to better their health conditions. 

“We are not just screening the students but creating massive awareness on the devastating effects of the diseases. We have witnessed the massive effect of sickle cell disease and how it can prevent the younger generation from reaching their potential in life.

“You would agree with me that a nation develops and moves to greater heights when its citizens are healthy holistically. Our impact today is a step in the right direction,” she said.

In his presentation, the guest speaker, Dr Paul Ennin, Chief Executive Officer of Airport Women’s Hospital, highlighted the need for the government to prioritise the treatment of sickle cell by supporting non-governmental organisations structured to sensitise communities about the significance of the disease.

A number of dignitaries including Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, rapper, Okyeame Kwame, and media personality, Nana Aba Anamoh, graced the occasion.

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