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As part of measures to curb the menace of Scoliosis in Ghana, Scoliosis Foundation Ghana, a not-for-profit organization in partnership with the Ministry of Health, FOCOS Orthopedic Hospital and other key stakeholders have organized a sensitization forum in Accra on Saturday, June 25, 2016 to commemorate the International Scoliosis Awareness Day to educate the public and raise awareness about the disease.
The International Awareness Day is a day set aside globally to create awareness and sensitizes people on the need to prevent Scoliosis, its detection, treatment, and cure. The theme for this year’s event is “Early detection, early prevention”.
The theme for this year’s event is “Early detection, early prevention”.
The event kick started with a public float through the streets of Accra in the morning. It ended at the Mantse Agbona Park near James Town where speakers took turns to address the participants on the significance of the day, charging every Ghanaian to support the fight against Scoliosis.
Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. George Kyeremeh, Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the Ministry of Health appealed to Ghanaians to take advantage of the day and report cases early on the condition at any nearby health facility for management in order to avoid future deformities.
Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to abnormally curve sideways into an “S” or “C” shape which is surprisingly common although many people are unaware of the condition. It is typically classified as either congenital (caused by vertebral anomalies present at birth), idiopathic (cause unknown) or secondary to a primary condition. It is known to affect about 3% of the world’s population: with an onset at a younger age (usually between 10 and 15 years. In most African societies Scoliosis as a whole is seen as a curse and a disease caused by the supernatural. Affected individuals are sometimes stigmatized and discriminated against.
According to health experts, the condition can be controlled by early diagnosis which is the first step towards providing treatment that may prevent more serious problems.
The Health Minister’s statement suggested Scoliosis is manageable depending on the severity of the condition (curvature and skeletal maturity. He indicated although early detection is the key, conventional options for children, adolescents and adults normally include surgery, bracing, physiotherapy and sometimes with pain medication to help relieve pain.
He commended Scoliosis Foundation Ghana and its partners for the invaluable services including awareness creation, early detection, and treatment of people suffering from the condition within different communities in Ghana over the years.
“It is heartwarming to note this initiative has in no small way helped to bring hope and care to people living with the condition. This is highly commendable and worthy of emulation and once again I say Ayekoo to Scoliosis Foundation Ghana and all its allies,” said Hon. Alex Segbefia.
In his address, Gabriel Ntow Quao, Founder, and CEO of Scoliosis Foundation Ghana noted victims of Scoliosis go through a lot of problems, stemming from their inability to work to social alienation.
“The condition impacts Ghana’s labor force negatively and creates ‘social alienation’ of its victims,” he indicated.
Mr. Gabriel Quao pledges his outfit’s unrelenting commitment to vigorously create awareness so as to help people overcome the health challenges posed by Scoliosis in Ghana and encourage all stakeholders to support the initiative.
Speaking in an interview with Journalists, Mr. Quao disclosed that his predicament as a victim to the condition which has caused him so much discomfort does not deprive him of the passion for supporting other victims in the same situation.
“I have chosen to change my pain into passion by helping support other victims in the same situation. I would like to help others in the awareness creation for early detection and treatment and equally, seek support for them towards possible surgeries,” he stressed.
When asked how much is needed for his surgery to rectify his condition, Mr. Quao with a sorrowful voice condition said,
“For now, I can only look up to only God above for help since I cannot afford to pay an amount GH? 88,80.00 which doctors are demanding from me to correct my condition.”
The Founder and CEO of Scoliosis Foundation Ghana are therefore calling on Corporate Ghana, Institutions, Churches and Philanthropic individuals to come to their aid and donate cash or kind to support the organization propagate the message of hope and save the nation from the dangers of Scoliosis. The Foundation can be contacted through the internet www.scoliosisghana.org and on telephone number 0542440967 for support or further information relating concerning the condition.
Scoliosis Foundation Ghana has been instrumental in engaging various stakeholders including traditional leaders, schools, various youth groups, and remote communities in different activities all geared towards awareness creation. Some of these activities include education and screening, public video shows, testimonies from victims and drama.
The event brought together stakeholders in the health sector including Ministry of Health Chiefs and Queen mothers of Accra, Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Chief Imam and student under one umbrella to support and raise awareness on the condition and the way forward in ending Scoliosis in Ghana. It was organized by Scoliosis Foundation and supported by The Ministry of Health FOCOS Orthopedic Hospital, Kelvin’s Spine’s Foundation, Voltic Mineral Water, Paulus Electricals, Maji Water among others.
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