Health News Fri, 22 Oct 2021

Sickle Cell Foundation pleads with govt to aid in acquisition of medicine for patients

Nurse Specialist in Haematology at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and a member of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana, Diana Dwuma-Badu, has pleaded with the government to help acquire more hydroxyurea medication for sickle cell patients.

Talking about the effects of hydroxyurea in sickle disease with the host of eTV Ghana’s African Women’s Voices show, Eunice Tornyi on another episode of the show, she explained sickle cell disease as a condition that affects the part of the blood that carries oxygen to parts of the body and she noted that this disease is genetic and is a life-long condition.

She recalled that in 2018, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with a pharmaceutical company called Novartis to ensure that patients with sickle cell disease get free access to hydroxyurea, however, they are running short of this free supply.

“In 2019, Novartis donated six million capsules of hydroxyurea so since then, patients who have been on this medication, especially those in Accra and a few other regions have been getting it for free. Unfortunately, that hydroxyurea is getting finished so by this August, the last capsule will be issued and we have no idea what will happen to these patients,” she said.

Diana mentioned that the agreement was that as the free supply is over, the government will take over to ensure that these children who have benefitted will continue to enjoy that benefit hence, she pleaded that the government fulfil their part of the agreement by August so that the lives of various sickle cell patients will not be lost due to inability to purchase the medicine.

“Even if it’s not free, how do we get it under the NHIS so that if I’m a card-bearing member and I’m on hydroxyurea, I can access it? I have close to a thousand children in my clinic alone, that is the children’s block in Korle-Bu, who are on this medication and after August, I don’t know how many of them will be able to continue to be on it so we are appealing to the government to look at the impact this medication has had on these children and help sustain it,” the nurse specialist further pleaded.
Source: etvghana.com
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