The G.N.S Foundation, a Non-governmental Organisation, has held free sickle cell screening and education for the girls and management of South Labone Girls Vocational Training Centre.
The screening exercise, which formed part of activities to mark World Sickle Cell Day, was on the theme “Achieving Equity in Health Care Access for People Living with Sickle Cell Disease.”
The exercise also provided special genetic counselling to participants.
Mrs Sandra Amponsah Ayivor, the Executive Director of G.N.S Foundation, speaking at the event, said the Foundation embarked on the exercise to create a strong awareness about the significance of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in Ghana.
She said, “We have seen the massive effect of the SCD and how it can prevent the younger generation from reaching their potential in life hence the initiative.
Mrs Ayivor spoke on several projects the Foundation had undertaken since inception and expressed appreciation to all institutions which have supported their noble cause this far.
Dr Sylvester Annan Mensah, the Medical Officer, Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, educated the girls and participants on the difference between blood group and sickle cell disease.
“Sickle cell disease is an inherited red blood cell disorder that changes the normal shape of the red blood cell to look like a crescent shape farm tool called sickle, given its name sickle cell,” he added.
Dr Mensah said in Africa, sickle cell disease (SCD) was a major public health problem with over 200,000 babies born per year. In Ghana, approximately 15,000 babies (two per cent) were born with sickle cell disease every year.
He educated the girls on the several types of sickle cell disease, the most common are Sickle Cell Anaemia (SS), Sickle Haemoglobin-C Disease (SC), Sickle Beta-Plus Thalassemia and Sickle Beta-Zero Thalassemia.
He said despite the various types, there was no cause to worry as technology was far advanced and access to healthcare was possible.
Dr Mensah urged Ghanaians to know their sickle cell statuses to avoid future complications and again called on the public to support people with the disease to do away with stigma.
Dr Paul Enin, Chief Executive Officer, Airport Women’s Hospital, called for more support from the Government to improve the quality of life of sickle cell patients.
He said the sickle cell was a chronic disease which put a lot of financial burden on families and as such government should provide more support to alleviate the unending plight of relatives.
Mrs Gifty Tekpor, the Manageress of the Center, commending the NGO for the initiative called for support to enable them take care of the girls.
She said the South Labone Girls Vocational Training Centre was in dire need and appealed to non-governmental organisations, institutions, and companies to come to their aid, adding that the Government was doing its part but could not do everything.
About 100 girls in the facility were screened and given special genetic counselling for participants.
G.N.S Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization (N.G.O), that specialises in sickle cell management and associated haematological diseases, Orphanages and Disability assistance, Youth and Women (Kayayo Antenatal) support as well as empowerment.
World Sickle Cell Day is marked annually on June 19 to help increase public knowledge and awareness of the disease, one of the main causes of death in children under the age of five in Africa.