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Health News of Friday, 28 May 2021


Most health facilities in Ghana don't have phototherapy lights - Pediatrician

Phototherapy lights Phototherapy lights

• Dr Maame Yaa has called for the provision of phototherapy lights in health facilities in Ghana

• She explained that not all facilities have the special light used for treating Neonatal jaundice

• Neonatal jaundice is a yellowish discolouration of the white part of the skin of newborns

A Pediatrician at the Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital, Dr. Maame Yaa, has revealed that most hospitals in the country do not have phototherapy lights, which are used in the treatment of neonatal jaundice a condition that affects newborn babies.

According to Dr Maame Yaa, efforts by some health facilities to design this special light have proven futile.

“Unfortunately, not all facilities have the special light that they have to lie under. We have done a lot in trying to make our lights but over the years we realize that it is not as effective as the special blue light that babies should lie under,” she said in an interview on Radio Univers 105.7FM.

She further added: “I would say that it is not as widespread as it is. Ideally, even in our health centers and clinics, we should have some phototherapy lights so that those who have physiological jaundice and are not very sick can be managed at that level.”

Neonatal jaundice is a yellowish discolouration of the white part of the eyes and skin in a newborn baby due to high bilirubin levels.

The condition occurs within the first 28 days of the birth of a child. Dr Maame Yaa explained that "It always depends on what is causing jaundice in the mother. If for instance the mother has sickle cell disease and she’s jaundice, she may not necessarily pass it on to her child unless her child also has sickle cell. But if the mother has a liver infection like hepatitis, then she may be able to pass it on to the baby.”

The month of May has been set aside to raise awareness on the condition. The Paediatric Society of Ghana has themed this year’s celebration as “Early initiation of breastfeeding keeps the yellow away.”