Founding Director of the West African Genetic Medicine Centre and Former Dean of the School of Biomedical and Allied Sciences; Professor Solomon Fiifi Ofori-Acquah has called on the Ministry of Health to expand the number of babies being scanned for sickle cells in Ghana.
Prof. Solomon was speaking to UniversNews after his Inaugural Lecture on May 18, 2023, at the Great Hall on the topic “A Journey with Sickle Cell Disease, around the World and a Return Home to Help Find a Cure”.
Prof. Solomon also asked the government to tag screening newborn babies for sickle cell to immunization of babies as he called for its expansion.
“My number one appeal to the Ministry of Health is to expand the number of babies that we can screen for sickle cell disease, we can tag it to immunization. Every baby born in this country is immunized, so why can every baby be screened for sickle cell disease?”
He encouraged sickle cell patients to visit health facilities for their Hydroxyurea medication. According to him; the medication has been made free and available by the government for their use.
“Hydroxyurea is good and free, so what we need is for sickle cell patients to visit their nearby health centers for their medication. The government has made it free and accessible so I will urge every patient to go for it.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Solomon went on to reveal some plans by the Noguchi Memorial Institute For Medical Research and the University of Ghana Medical Centre to create an avenue to train individuals in the field of genetics.
“The infrastructure we are putting up in the University of Ghana is a sandwich between Noguchi Memorial Institute For Medical Research and the University of Ghana Medical Centre is a genomics complex where we are going to train people to become genetics counselors, we are going to train people to become good in the laboratory in doing generics, we are going to have a small unit that will allow for generics consulting issues and research. That building will help us bring focus to genetics because genetics is so broad and you need people with different specialties to be involved in it and that building will help us a lot.”
Story by | Frederick Kunzote-Ani | univers.ug.edu.gh