National Cardiothoracic Centre launches 35th?anniversary

The National Cardiothoracic Centre (NCTC), Korle Bu Teaching Hospital has launched its 35th anniversary celebration with a call for the establishment of a National Heart Institute in the country.

Dr Kow Entsua-Mensah, Director, NCTC said the future of the Centre lay in a National Heart Institute that would comprise a multi-disciplinary but well fitted institution with many units and departments working together to enhance the heart health of Ghanaians and Africans.

He said after 35 years it was a fact that the nature of many heart diseases encountered now were different in what pertains in the test books.

‘We have the task to lead Africa in a ground breaking research into heart disease that affect us as Africans. We need to rewrite textbooks on cardiac education in African and lead the research and advocacies for behavioral change.’

He said the theme for the celebration, ‘Cardio at 35: A legacy of excellence, a future of perfection’, gives them the opportunity to reflect on the lessons inherent in the evo
lution of the Centre over the past years.

Dr Entsua-Mensah said the highlight of the celebration was to pay tribute to the founder and first director of the Centre, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, who identified his calling and stayed true to it, despite the rugged nature of the road.

He said it was difficult to imagine Korle Bu without a Centre as it had performed 13,451 surgeries for both Ghanaians and nationals from other west African countries.

It has also trained nine surgeons for Ghana and 15 for Nigeria. ‘Additionally, four Ghanaians, two Nigerians and one Gambian are currently being trained.’

‘We aim for perfection, which means performing our duties and tasks so well, better than it will be done anywhere in the world. It means training, rehearsing simulation, evaluation and reevaluating our performance until we reach a status of completeness, flawlessness, supreme excellence, setting high standards for our vision and mission statements and encouraging ourselves.’

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said t
he vision for the establishment of the Centre was to be a world class one and first choice destination for management of cardiothoracic and vascular diseases in the West African Region.

It was also to be a referral centre equipped with personnel with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes to undertake quality care, teaching and research at international standards to the ultimate satisfaction of clients.

He said, ‘the journey to establish the Centre began in 1981 after a national campaign to save a hole-in-heart patient was launched, a friend lost his leg in 1967, a personal family tragedy as well as encouragement from Germany.

He said before the establishment of the centre there were lots of opposition from Ghanaians, both within and outside the medical fraternity, but with the strong support from the then People’s National Defence Council government, the Centre gained its roots.

It became the first Centre of excellence established in the KBTH that was somewhat semi-autonomous in its operations, an
d this was the key factor that enhanced the success and efficiency of the Centre, for which it is known now.

Pro Frimpong Boateng said the future of the NCTC would be sustained by the attitude, competence and integrity of members of staff and the presence of training programmes for surgeons, cardiologists and other grades of professional.

‘Great institutions are difficult to build, easy to destroy, and impossible to restore, and the most important determinant of future success is how we manage our human capital.’

Dr Bernard Okoe-Boye, Minister of Health, acknowledged the immense contribution of the Centre to healthcare delivery in the country, saying the Ministry’s plan was to support the Centre to enhance its work through the provision of equipment and other resources.

‘The work of the Centre also aligned with the plans of the Ministry to promote health tourism in the country. Already we are aware of quite a sizable number of foreigners who seek treatment at the centre. This is a laudable initiative that
has the support of government and in the coming days the Ministry will engage the Centre on how to move it forward.’

Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah, Chief Executive Officer, KBTH said management of the hospital acknowledged the role played by the Centre and they were ready to support to expand, urging members of staff to ‘use the celebration to reflect on what to also do, so that tomorrow would be better the next generation.’

Dr David Nkansa-Dwamena, Board Chairman KBTH, urged leadership of the Centre to embody the same spirit of boldness and innovation that had brought the Centre this far and rolled out ambitious programmes to ensure the Centre maintained its leadership in Cardiothoracic services.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Fibroid Foundation, GHS collaborate to support women with fibroid

The Fibroid Foundation, Africa (FibFA) in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has launched the first fibroid champions training programme to support and empower women affected by uterine fibroids.

The four-day training programme, which started on June 10 to June 13, 2024, in Accra, was the first major initiative in Africa to formally alert institutions and the public about their collective responsibility to help achieve the aim of helping people understand women affected by uterine fibroids.

In addition to the launching of the fibroid champions training programme, FibFA said it could not remain silent while women, particularly those in underserved communities suffered unnecessarily because of the stigma and shame associate with some of the symptoms of fibroids.

Reverend Professor Elizabeth Korasare, Executive Director of the Fibroid Foundation Africa in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the launch said it was important to promote research to understand the basic science and cellular
origin of the disease among women in Africa to inform decision-making and provide holistic approach to reproductive health policies.

She said it was becoming enormous and had become imperative to improve awareness creation, campaign, and training on the importance of making early interventions towards a healthier future for women in Ghana and beyond.

Rev. Prof Korasare said as the world moved towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, the issue of fibroid should be tackled with some aggression to erode the inequalities in seeking treatment if we all appreciate the importance of the womb as a vital organ to human existence.

‘Many women are desiring alternative treatment to surgery,’ adding that, ‘One crucial aspect of our interventions is the promotion of Vitamin ‘D’ and EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) supplementation among young girls from 14 to 30 years of age.’

She said emerging research suggested that these supplements may play a role in the prevention and management of fibroids.

Rev Prof Korasare s
aid Vitamin ‘D’ had been linked to reduced fibroid growth while EGCG, a compound found in green tea, has showed promise in clinical studies and other therapies like prekese, hence, the hope to push from currently position of surgery to prevention and management.

Activities lined up are to equip fibroid champions with the knowledge and skills necessary to raise awareness about fibroid in their communities and serve as vital resources, providing accurate information, dispelling myths, and guiding women towards timely and effective medical care, she stated.

She said the champions’ training programme was a testament to the power of collaboration and the commitment of all stakeholders, especially esteemed support from the University of Chicago for their support in making it a reality.

Dr Marion Okoh-Owusu, Director Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service expressed gratitude to the Fibroid Foundation and the University of Chicago Global for spearheading the efforts.

‘Your dedication to the cause of u
terine fibroid awareness, research and advocacy is truly commendable and acknowledged the development of training manuals and flip charts for public education and the provision of technical support to get these materials done,’ she said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

NHIA releases GHS300 million for claims payment to healthcare facilities

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has disbursed about GHS300 million as claims payment to healthcare facilities across the country.

The payment covers claims vetted for higher tier facilities up to January 2024.

In a press release issued in Accra on Wednesday, Dr. Da-Costa Aboagye, Acting Chief Executive of the Authority, said for lower tier facilities, the payments were within the acceptable three-month debt period.

The release said the payment of claims underscored the Authority’s commitment to ensuring the smooth operation of healthcare services and the sustainability of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

‘The timely disbursement aims to enhance the quality of care provided to all NHIS members

and support the operational needs of healthcare providers,’ it said.

The release said the NHIA appreciated the cooperation and patience of all healthcare providers and assured them of its continuous efforts to improve the efficiency and timeliness of claims processing and payments.

ce: Ghana News Agency

Egg freezing helps in fertility treatment – Dr Hiadzi

Women who are not ready to have babies but are ageing have been advised to freeze their eggs to keep them fertile for their future pregnancies.

Dr Edem Hiadzi, an Obstetrician Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist, gave the advice that freezing eggs was very feasible and could ensure that the eggs could survive for up to 10 years in the state in which they were harvested.

Egg freezing according to Healthline (an online health portal), is a form of assisted reproductive technology that involves stimulating, harvesting, and storing eggs for future use. 

Dr Hiadzi, who is also the founder and chief executive officer of Lister Hospital and Fertility Centre, gave the advice during a virtual Third Annual World Infertility Awareness Summit 2024 organised by the Merck Foundation and the Africa Reproductive Care Society in commemoration of World Infertility Awareness Month.

He said there may be many reasons accounting for the delay and pregnancy, therefore, it was highly advised that to be able to use their own e
ggs for artificial insemination in the future, women could freeze their quality eggs.

He indicated that many things could affect the quality of eggs, including ageing, while medical treatment for illnesses such as cancer could also damage the eggs.

The fertility specialist noted that using one’s own frozen eggs was more economical than relying on donor eggs.

Dr Hiadzi said with egg freezing during in vitro fertilisation (IVF), some of the eggs from the stimulation could be frozen for subsequent pregnancies instead of the past, when many eggs were fertilised and implanted in the woman.

Professor Oladapo Ashiru, the President of the Africa Reproductive Care Society (ARCS), said 2that according to the United Nations, having a baby was a human right.

Professor Ashiru, who is also the president of the Academy of Medicine Specialties of Nigeria, called on policymakers, the government, and stakeholders to ensure the availability of equitable access and robust health care for all.

He also called for attention t
o the causes of infertility, especially air pollution and environmental toxins, which, when tackled, would help prevent infertility.

He said other causes included untreated sexually transmitted diseases and mumps infections in childhood, which could cause permanent testicular damage.


‘Those who work in the paint industry, petrochemical industry, and oil industry are highly exposed people if they don’t detox themselves regularly of toxins. 

Dr Rasha Kelej, the Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation, noted that fertility was a shared responsibility and should not be stigmatised.

Dr Kelej said infertility was a condition that could be treated and managed, noting that 85 per cent could be treated, therefore the need to create awareness for couples suffering from infertility to seek medical care.

According to the World Health Organisation, infertility is a disease of the male or female reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular, unprotected sex
ual intercourse. This may occur due to male, female, or unexplained factors.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Country Coordinating Mechanism, Ghana to demonstrate against locked-up containers

Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), Ghana of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has made their intention known to exercise their Civic rights as citizens to stage a public demonstration on June 25, this year.

This is to register their displeasure about the 120 containers of locked medical commodities donated by the Global Fund to the government.

This was contained in an open letter dated 11th June 2024 to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The letter, which was sighted by the Ghana News Agency was signed by Mr. Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, Acting Chair of CCM Ghana.

Mr Ortsin stated that, ‘the commodities valued at about 45 million dollars are wasting at the port for more than 12 months include compromise medications for the treatment of tuberculosis, artemisinin-based combination therapy for the treatment of malaria, insecticide treated mosquito nets, rapid diagnostic test kits GeneXpert cartridges.

He continued that on April 8, 2024, six CSOs, whose area of operation focused
on HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria organised a press conference to bring to the attention of the public the ugly situation of the locked-up containers.

Mr Ortsin said after the press conference, the government responded, and the Ministry of Health hurriedly organised a press event to take delivery of 14 containers out of the 182.

He noted that at the event a promise was made that the rest of the containers would be released in two weeks.

‘Some skeptics described the removal of the 14 containers as a sham that is meant to throw dust into the eyes of the public, describing it as a public gimmick,’ he stated.

He said that CSO Networks placed a moratorium on all public demonstrations and gave the government the opportunity to redeem itself but only an additional 48 containers had been released.

‘All the rest 120 containers are still gathering moss under the scorching sun, torrential rains and corrosive winds at the ports while our health facilities have run out of stock of these same commodities,’ he

Mr Ortsin stated that to describe the situation as bizarre would be an understatement as the international community were asking whether it was a case of corruption, incompetence or sheer wickedness and did not understand how a sovereign state could not clear donated health commodities from its ports.

He mentioned that on May 29, 2024, some senior officials from Global Fund held a meeting with the Ghana delegation to the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva and reprimanded Ghana for its conduct in respect of the locked-up commodities.

Mr Ortsin therefore publicly appealed to the President of the Republic in view of the exigencies to intervene and support the Ministry of Health to work out a lasting solution to the intractable impasse.

He said the inspiration behind the Global Fund ‘was our own the late Kofi Annan whose tenure of office, the United Nations pushed for its establishment.

Mr. Ortsin reminded the President that Ghana was the first country to sign a grant with the Fund and to date was ab
le to receive 1.3 billion dollars from it adding ‘the Fund currently has a 248-million-dollar grant agreement with the country to support it fight the three diseases.’

He continued that they were not enthused by the government’s handling of the matter, adding that the country should not have sunken so low to become the butt of international jokes and gossip.

Mr. Ortsin concluded that when ‘we hit the streets, we shall formally present to you a petition that contains a litany of issues currently marring our relations with the Global Fund and other donors.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

It’s unacceptable for anyone to lose sight due to cataract – Ophthalmologist

Cataract is a treatable eye disease, Dr Mercy Dawson, an ophthalmologist has said.

It is therefore unacceptable for anybody to lose his or her sight due to cataract, she stated in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani and advised people with eye related problems to check and seek early medication.

Dr Dawson, an eye specialist at the Akwatia St. Dominic Catholic Hospital in the Denkyembour District of the Eastern Region advised people with sight problems against self-medication that could worsen the condition.

She was speaking to the GNA on the sidelines of a free eye surgery exercise conducted by the Sunyani Seventh Day Adventist Hospital with support from the National Cataract Outreach Program and the Himalayan Cataract Project.

More than 300 people with various eye related diseases are benefiting from the free surgery and treatment in the five-day exercise from Monday June 10 to Friday June 14, 2024.

Dr Dawson mentioned cataract, refractive error, and glaucoma as the most common eye
problems in the country, saying glaucoma could also be managed if patients seek early medical attention.

With refractive error, most patients are giving eyeglasses, she stated, saying, diabetes patients were also prone to cataract.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Fish head, bones are rich in micronutrients – FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has stated that some fish parts such as the head, bones, and trimmings, which represent 30 to 70 per cent of the whole fish, are rich in micronutrients.

The FAO disclosed this in its ‘In Brief: The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2024. Blue Transformation in Action,’ which is available to the Ghana News Agency.

It stated that aquatic foods are considered among the healthiest foods, and their consumption is linked to improved public health outcomes.

The consumption of whole fish, it noted, provides important essential nutrients, particularly omega-three fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, and is relatively affordable, ensuring low-income populations have access to nutritious foods.

‘During processing, many parts considered not edible are often discarded, for example, the head, bones, skin, scales, and trimmings, representing 30-70 percent of the whole fish weight.’

The FAO said those parts were rich in micronutrients, and the adop
tion of simple low-cost technologies such as drying, smoking, fermentation, and milling can transform them into affordable and nutritious products.

‘FAO supports home-grown school feeding programmes to produce aquatic foods using underutilised locally produced small fish or fish powders made from fisheries by-products.’

The organisation cited that the use in school feeding programmes of dried fish powder produced from tuna frames in Ghana and fish cake made from whole tilapia in Guatemala was highly acceptable.

It also stated that the use of whole fish improved the level of micronutrients in the meal, reduced the cost per meal, and lessened the environmental impact.

The FAO, however, added that promoting the consumption of aquatic foods and increasing public awareness of their nutritional and health benefits remained a significant challenge without up-to-date and accurate composition data on aquatic foods.

It noted that to address this gap, FAO has prepared a global nutrient conversion table for applicat
ion to the FAO Supply Utilisation Accounts, based on national or regional food composition data, adding that the global table provides the data required to generate statistics on aquatic foods for energy, micronutrients, and polyunsaturated and omega-three fatty acids.

The report stated that a three-year FAO-led project was updating the International Network of Food Data Systems to expand information on the nutrient composition of small fish species, processed fish, and algae.

Source: Ghana News Agency

CCM Ghana threatens demo June 25 over uncleared medical supplies at port

Members of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (Ghana CCM) of the Global Fund in Ghana have threatened to hit the streets on June 25, 2024, to register their displeasure over the Government’s ‘inability’ to clear remaining consignment of medical supplies shipped into the country by donors.

The group lamented that there were 120 containers of medication from the Global Fund left to be cleared at the port, but the Government was not attending to the matter with the urgency it deserved.

In April this year, a group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) held a press conference to draw the Government’s attention to some locked-up commodities donated by the Global Fund.

The freights comprised medications for treatment of Tuberculosis, Malaria, insecticide treated nets, and rapid diagnostic test kits.

Ghana CCM, in an open letter to the President on June 11, 2024, signed by the Acting Chair, Mr Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, said 14 out of the 182 containers were cleared by the Government, following agitations by the CSO

It said additional 48 containers were later released, however, some ‘are still gathering moss’ at the port while health facilities in the country were out of supply of the commodities.

Mr Ortsin said the inability of the Government to clear the remaining medical provisions at the port had been a matter of concern to members of the international community.

‘Some are asking whether the Government of Ghana no longer has control over its ports, because they [international agencies] do not understand how a sovereign State cannot clear commodities from its port,’ he stated.

The Acting Chair said the situation required quicker intervention by the Government as it could affect relations between Ghana and the Global Fund.

‘Global Fund is a very strategic partner of Ghana and we need to desist from inactions that may jeopardise our relations with the Fund. Since 2002, Ghana has never experienced this kind of challenge in receiving Global Fund commodities. So what has changed?’ He asked.

Mr Ortsin said Ghana CC
M was aware of the Government’s financial challenges, but that should not be ‘an excuse for the current situation we find ourselves.

‘We are not enthused about government’s handling of the matter. As a country, we should not have sunken so low to this level where we have now become the butt of international jokes and gossips,’ he stated.

Ghana CCM, therefore, urged the Government to support the Ministry of Health to ‘work out a lasting solution’ to the difficulty in clearing the outstanding medical supplies from the port.

Mr Ortsin said the group would exercise its civic rights during the demonstration on June 25, 2024, and present a petition to the Government on ‘a litany of issues’ affecting Ghana’s relations with Global Fund and other donors.

Source: Ghana News Agency