Health News of Wednesday, 27 February 2013
A three-day workshop to aid the development of a module for the training and certification of genetic counselors on the sickle cell disease is underway in Kumasi.
Put together by the Sickle Cell Foundation- Ghana, community leaders including marriage counselors of religious organizations, queens and traditional rulers have been selected to attend the workshop to provide inputs on cultural practices and norms that might hamper dissemination of accurate information on the disease.
Professor Kwaku Ohene Frimpong, Programme Coordinator of the National New Born Screening for the Sickle Cell Disease, told newsmen that the workshop was part of a grand scheme to facilitate dissemination of authentic information on the disease through certified genetic counselors.
He said misconceptions and wrong information about the disease have been the bane of efforts at stemming the spread of the disease, purely inherited from parents.
Professor Ohene Frimpong, also a Ghanaian Professor of Pediatrics at the Philadelphia Hospital in the U SA, said genetic counselors from the United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria were also attending.
The Sickle Cell expert, who first piloted the new born sickle screening programme at the Komfo Anokye hospital (KATH) in 1995 with sponsorship from the US government said, the Ghana government, took over the programme on November 2011.
He said a number of health facilities have been selected across the country to do the screening for treatment to start immediately to promote the longevity of sufferers.
Those in Ashanti include the Saint Martin’s hospital at Agroyesum, St Patrick’s at Offinso and the Mampong government.
Giving the statistics of the prevalence of the disease in Ghana, he said two per cent of the population is affected whiles 25 per cent are carriers.
The next step of the programme is to screen students in the secondary and tertiary levels to enable them make informed choices in their future marriages.
Special laboratories are also going to be established at some health facilities to help provide detailed analysis and accurate results of blood samples as a means to detecting the disease.