KATH management engaging with striking doctors

The management of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi is engaging with the leadership of the medical doctors in the facility to resolve issues which have led to a strike action at the facility.

Doctors of the Hospital on Wednesday, March 13, began a strike action in solidarity with their colleagues who are being ejected from their official residences.

These official accommodations are situated at Danyame, a prime area in Kumasi, which is part of the 400-acre government lands, the Supreme Court had ruled that it should be reversed to the Manhyia palace.

A notice of eviction was served on the affected doctors about a year ago, but no alternative accommodation had been found by the management of KATH for the doctors.

Last week, a one-week ultimatum was issued to the affected doctors to vacate the area to enable the private developers to take over the land and this had led to the impasse between the doctors and the management of the hospital.

Dr Michael Leat, Chairman of KATH branch of the Gh
ana Medical Association, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the continued intimidation and harassment by the private developer had occasioned the strike action by the doctors.

He said the management of KATH had not yet given alternative accommodation to about 20 doctors who had been asked to vacate the area.

In solidarity with the affected doctors, their colleague doctors have joined them in the strike.

However, the strike only affected new cases coming to the Hospital while old cases are being attended to.

Mr Kwame Frimpong, Public Relation Officer (PRO), of the Hospital told the Ghana News Agency during a visit to the facility that management was aware of the situation and was taking steps to resolve and address the concerns of the doctors.

He said several meetings had been held with the leadership of the association to plead with them to exercise restraints in line with their duty.

Mr Frimpong said management was currently engaging the Regional Coordinating Council, the Lands Commission,
and the private developers for an amicable settlement of the issue.

Some of the patients who spoke with the GNA recounted how they were disappointed after trekking several hours, only to meet the absence of doctors at the facility.

They appealed to the Hospital authorities to urgently find a solution to the problem.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Deputy Health Minister-designate advocates setting up clinics at markets

Mr Alexander Kwasi Acquah, a Deputy Health Minister-Designate, advocated the setting up of clinics at marketplaces as part of efforts to bring healthcare services to the doorstep of the people.

‘To have clinics in various markets because a lot of people, normally will not want to take seriously their health; but if you have a facility within the market, it becomes easier for them to check on their health randomly,’ he said.

‘And so, together with the Ministry of local Government it becomes something that we have to push so hard to bring healthcare to the doorstep of our people.’

‘Which is a concept that if you give me the nod, I will partner my Minister, I will strongly advise my Minister for us to look at it.’

The nominee made the suggestion during his vetting at the public sitting of the Appointments Committee of Parliament in Accra.

Mr Acquah, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) of Akim Oda, and an investor in hospitals and mortuaries, said his experience with private healthcare de
livery and in the hospital business was enough to enable him to support his Minister to implement Government’s policies to improve private participation in healthcare delivery.

Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee, asked Mr Acquah to tell the committee how difficult it was to run a hospital.

‘Mr Chairman, it is not too difficult, and it is not too easy, because the initial capital outlay is so much; I was very lucky to have regime that made it easier for some of us to contract loans and so, one hospital after the other, we were able to break even in seven years,’ he answered.

‘Then it became easier for the banks to have confidence in what we were running and so they came to us to set up some of these facilities at other places.’

He noted that so far, he had set up five hospitals and four mortuaries.

The hospitals are located at Akim Oda and Kokorantumi, both in the Eastern Region, Ashaiman, Ashongman and Kaneshie in the Greater Accra Region.

Ghana News Agency

Government assures passage of the Organ and Tissue Donation Bill

Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Presidential Advisor on Health, has assured the medical fraternity of the passage of the Organ and Tissue Donation Bill, which would help cure people suffering from cornea blindness.

‘The draft bill is currently with the Ministry of Health. What is needed now is the policy for it to be sent to Cabinet and then the Attorney General,’ he said.

Dr. Nsiah-Asare made the pledge at the second Corneal Transplant Summit in Accra, which aimed to look at how Ghana can properly implement the bill when it is passed to ensure successful corneal and organ harvesting.

He said the cornea was essential for seeing; yet, diseases, injuries, and infections could harm the sensitive tissue, resulting in irreversible blindness.

According to the Presidential Advisor on Health, Ghana’s present situation was marked by a lack of awareness, an insufficient donor pool, and inadequate infrastructure.

Dr. Nsiah-Asare emphasised his commitment to regulations governing cornea and other organ transplants.

called for public awareness campaigns, collaboration with international organizations, and investment in training and infrastructure to transform lives and restore vision to those suffering from corneal blindness.

The summit, held in partnership with the Ophthalmological Society of Ghana (OSG) and HCP Cureblindness, was on the theme ‘Eliminating Corneal Blindness in Ghana. The Time is Now for Organ and Tissue Law.’

The Organ and Tissue Donation Bill seeks to establish a Human Organ and Tissue Authority (HOTA) to oversee and manage organ and tissue donation, create a national register of donors and recipients, protect rights and interests, and ensure ethical and legal standards.

Dr. James Addy, HCP Cureblindness Country Director, said that vision loss not only decreases employment prospects but also limits the ability to engage in other aspects of life, resulting in low utilization of one’s potential.

He said with around 26,000 people in Ghana awaiting corneal transplants, there was an urgent need for a la
w that ensured fair and transparent organ and tissue donation while protecting the rights and interests of donors and recipients and upholding ethical and legal standards.

Dr Addy said that, despite Ghana’s progress in improving eye care services over the last decade through infrastructure upgrades and health personnel capacity building, 230,000 Ghanaians remained blind, while another 330,000 suffer from severe vision loss.

However, Corneal blindness is easily repairable through transplant surgery based on the availability of healthy tissues, he added.

In 2022, Ghana’s only four corneal surgeons carried out 14 sight-saving surgeries, marking a significant milestone in the country’s ophthalmology practice.

Dr. Seth Lartey, Corneal Surgeon at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, said the country’s corneal surgeons currently depend on getting tissues from overseas, which proves both costly and time-consuming because cornea donation was expected to take effect within six hours of a donor’s death.

‘The medical fra
ternity earnestly requests the government to pass the bill, which will help establish eye banks and provide for fair and much-needed transplantation services to restore sight to thousands,’ he added.

Dr Lartey said the bill’s passage would create independent, equitable, and accessible health frameworks.

Dr Dziffa-Balla Ofori-Adjei, President of the Ophthalmological Society of Ghana (OSG), said that with the launch of the Cornea and Anterior Segment Fellowship by the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, OSG members were committed to training the next generation of Cornea Surgeons to perform sight-saving surgeries.

‘The expertise is available; the need is great, and the only missing piece is the passage of the legislation to bridge the gap between the need for Corneal transplants and the availability of donor corneas.

Corneal donation and transplant are not just mere medical procedures, they are acts of humanity and transcend borders, cultures, and backgrounds,’ Dr Ofori-Adjei added.

Source: Ghana Ne
ws Agency

North East Health Promotion Committee inaugurated in Bolgatanga

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has inaugurated a seven-member Interagency Coordinating Committee for Health Promotion (ICC-HP) for the North East Region, to advance the cause of health in Ghana.

The ICC-HP represents a collaborative effort among various agencies and stakeholders, dedicated to fostering independent problem-solving and advancing health promotion across the nation.

The committee, inaugurated in Bolgatanga, comprised Dr Moses Barima Djimatey, Deputy Director, Public Health, North East Region; Mr Moses Tampuri, Director of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Mr Jangdom Zaccheause, Media Representative.

The rest are Mr Alenga Abraham, the Regional Information Officer, Mr Alabira Osuman, Regional Environmental Officer, Mr Fusheini Alhassan, Regional Health Promotion Officer and Mr Mumuni Iddrisu, from the private sector.

At the inaugural ceremony, Dr Dacosta Aboagye, the Director of Health Promotion Division of the GHS, in an address read on his behalf, emphasised the crucial role of the c
ommittee the improvement of health and well-being of citizens.

The ICC-HP was formed in June 2010 with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and aims to harness and coordinate the advisory resources of key stakeholders to enhance the health and well-being of the Ghanaian populace.

The committee strategically collaborates with government agencies to promote and implement policies that advance public health initiatives and aspires to cultivate a healthier nation.

The national ICC-HP, currently composed of 14 members, boasts of a diverse representation across various sectors such as health, media, education, government agencies, and NGOs.

It receives support from a dedicated secretariat situated at the Health Promotion Division in Korle-Bu, ensuring efficient coordination and implementation of its objectives.

Source: Ghana News Agency

‘Remove taxes on our medications’ – Glaucoma Patients

Mr Harrison K. Abutiate, the National President of Glaucoma Patients Association of Ghana (GpAG), has appealed to the Government to remove all taxes on glaucoma medications.

Mr Abutiate, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said treatment had become a challenge due to high cost of medication arising from high taxes and exchange rates.

‘One of the reasons prices are high is because of the high taxes and exchange rate. Taxes on them are about fifty percent of the cost of the drugs. If you add the freight charges and importers margin, we will be talking of almost 75 to 80 percent of charges. So, if the government reduces the tax by 50 percent, it will be affordable, probably a third of what we are paying now,’ he said.

He made the appeal at the commemoration of the World Glaucoma Awareness Week held by the Trust Specialist Hospital at Osu, Accra.

The GpAG President also appealed to Government to intensify the lighting of the streets and cover all open drains to save persons with vision challenges from
falling into ditches.

‘Most people driving may have vision challenges, but glaucoma patients have additional problems because they are losing their peripheral vision… it will also help a lot if there is adequate street lighting, especially at night. A lot of pavements and edges of bridges are also not marked with reflectors, and this also creates problems… there are so many accidents just because many cannot see properly when driving or crossing,’he said.

According to data published by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), glaucoma constitutes 19.4 percent of all eye-related diseases in Ghana and comes second to cataract pegged at 54.5 percent as the common causes of blindness in the country.

Dennis Aggrey Ampiah, who has vision challenge, narrated his story of overcoming the condition and advised Ghanaians to refrain from self-medication and report early to hospital when they detected signs of vision decline.

He also warned against wrong use of eyeglasses.

‘Be cautious of quac
ks who parade with all kinds of concoctions, claiming to cure glaucoma and other eye diseases. Avoid buying cheap eyeglasses from questionable sources and report eye problems to the hospital immediately to avoid future vision loss… treasure your eyes. Don’t wait till you lose your sight,’ he said.

Glaucoma, the 2021 IAPB facts states, is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and most prevalent in people of African descent. About 6 million have glaucoma and more than half a million have already been blinded by it in Africa.

Glaucoma has an earlier onset in Africans and is more aggressive in its course than in Caucasian counterparts. In most of Africa, only about 1 in 20 of those with the disease are aware, with over 50% being unilaterally blind on presentation.

The CEO of The Trust Specialist Hospital, Dr Juliana Oye Ameh, as part of the week-long commemoration, announced a thirty percent discount package for patients who would seek their services for the treatment of eye problems.

Ghana News Agency

Manhean Polyclinic needs help – Medical Superintendent

?Dr Joseph Donkor, the Medical Superintendent?of?Manhean Polyclinic, has appealed to the government and other stakeholders to improve the infrastructure of the facility to promote quality healthcare delivery.

Dr Donkor said inadequate infrastructure was one of the key challenges the facility was facing that needed to be resolved.

‘Inadequate infrastructure is one of the key things that we are facing; most of you would bear with me that, most of the time, when you come to the hospital and it rains, the hospital gets flooded,’ he said.

Dr Donkor said this during a community engagement organised by the office of the Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Isaac Ashai Odamtten, and the Tema Polyclinic.

He said the Polyclinic’s proximity to the sea was one of the main causes of the continuous deterioration of logistics needed to make their work fruitful.

He said the clinic, formerly a health post established in 1960, had not received any major infrastructure development since its establishment, even though the communit
y kept expanding.

He said the situation had led to a big challenge in delivering health services to the community, and that the facility also needed more human resources to help improve its?service?delivery.

‘About two to three years ago, the hospital was upgraded to a polyclinic, and the polyclinic status comes with a lot of responsibilities and work,’ he said.

Dr Donkor?said?that upgrading the facility to a polyclinic status was an indication that more was expected from the facility and health workers, however, inadequate facilities were impeding their jobs.

Source: Ghana News Agency

No woman must be allowed to die from cervical cancer – Clinical Epidemiologist

Dr Grace Adjoa Ocansey, a Clinical Epidemiologist, has said no woman must be allowed to die from cervical cancer because the cancer is ‘preventable and curable.’

She also said that cancer of the cervix ‘happens when the cells of the cervix begin to change to precancerous cells.

He however noted that’ not all precancerous cells would turn into cancer thus, the need to find these problematic cells early and treat them to prevent the disease and its attendant problems, including death.

Dr Ocansey, who spoke to Ghana News Agency in an interview, said it was time for action against the disease ‘persistently ranked as the second most diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Ghanaian women.

‘Everybody including health care providers, churches, youth groups, parents/schools, and civil society groups must get involved to educate and act, so we don’t lose any woman through cervical cancer which is preventable and curable.

Ghana developed a national strategy for cancer control in 2011, w
hich covers strategies for cervical cancer prevention with two objectives to reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer by 30 per cent and improve effective diagnosis and treatment of cancer by 30 per cent but not much has been achieved over the past 10 years, leading to a rise in cervical cancer incidence and mortality in the country.’

‘Also, while the World Health Organisation recommended among others vaccination of 90 per cent of girls below 15 years, screening of 70 per cent of women with high-performance tests by 35 years and again by 45 years in Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has not yet been rolled out neither the population-based screening,’ she said.

Dr Ocansey said cervical cancer could be categorised into four stages where it is found only in the cervix, spread beyond the cervix and uterus, spread beyond the lower part of the vagina and possibly to pelvic walls, ureters and nearby lymph nodes and lastly, to the bladder, rectum, or other body parts
like the bones or lungs.

She underscored the need for women to avail themselves to be screened by a pap test, HPV test, or pelvic exam (visual) for early detection of any precancerous or cancerous lesions for action, saying the cancer could be treated through surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, cryotherapy and thermal coagulation.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Cipla embarks on strategic expansion into Ghana, Prioritizing equitable healthcare access

Renowned pharmaceutical giant, Cipla, is set to broaden its reach into the thriving healthcare landscape of Ghana, in a move aligning with its ‘Africa for Africa’ strategy, it has announced.

The Chief Executive Officer of Cipla Africa, Paul Miller, outlined that the company is committed to fostering equitable access to quality medications across the continent, with a particular focus on Ghana’s burgeoning healthcare needs.

Mr. Miller articulating Cipla’s vision for the future, stated, ‘We envision a future where everyone in Ghana has equitable access to quality, life-saving medicine, and innovative therapies. Our expansion aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing the improvement of health and well-being.’

Highlighting the pivotal role pharmaceutical companies play in achieving these goals, he emphasized, ‘Addressing disparities by enabling access to medication is one of the most important things we can do in any country to help improve health outcomes. We believe that heal
thy people are the foundation of healthy economies.’

Cipla’s strategic approach involves unlocking the continent’s well-being potential and driving inclusive economic growth. The CEO of Cipla Africa underscored the company’s global commitment to agile and sustainable growth, with a specific focus on complex generics and portfolio expansion in emerging markets.

‘We’re guided by our philosophy of ‘Caring for life,’ which has earned us the trust of healthcare professionals and patients worldwide,’ he stated.

The initial therapeutic portfolio Cipla is introducing to the Ghanaian market encompasses respiratory, gastro, cardiovascular/diabetes management, pain/colds/flu, and anti-infectives.

Also, the company plans to collaborate closely with local healthcare professionals and prioritize patient education in Ghana, aiming to enhance health outcomes in the region.

Recognizing the pivotal role of investment in Africa for catalyzing job creation, infrastructure development, and sustainable economic prosperity, Ci
pla is determined to empower local communities and contribute to Ghana’s socio-economic advancement.

Moreover, Cipla is committed to going beyond conventional pharmaceutical roles, actively engaging in corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Mr. Miller revealed, ‘Our philosophy is to do well while doing good. Our first corporate social investment in Ghana, through our Miles for Smiles initiative in partnership with Operation Smile, aims to fund corrective surgeries for people born with cleft conditions.’

As Cipla takes strides to make a lasting impact in Ghana, Mr. Miller expressed excitement about the company’s sustained commitment to creating a positive and sustainable footprint in the region.

Cipla’s expansion into Ghana, it believed, signifies a potent catalyst for positive change and improved well-being across the nation in the realm of healthcare, where access and innovation intersect.

Source: Ghana News Agency