Accra Academy holds lectures to mark 90th anniversary

The Accra Academy as part of activities to mark its 90th Anniversary will host the ‘8th Koduah, Halm-Addo, Awuletey, Alema Memorial Lecture’ on Thursday at the school’s hall (K.G Konuah Hall) in Accra.

Under the auspices of the Board of Governors, Headmaster, Anniversary Planning Committee, Accra Academy Old Boys Association(AAOBA) Bleoo 1974 Year Group, Parents and Teachers Association (P.T.A) and Staff, the lecture would be held on the theme “Hydroxyrea Treatment for Sickel Cell Disease in Ghana: Bringing Comfort to Many More.”

Guest Speaker would be Prof. Isaac Odame, a Pediatric Haematologist at Toronto, Canada, with Wilson Tei as Chairman, while former Speaker of Parliament, Dr Edward Doe Adjaho, would be the Special Guest of Honour.

The event is in honour of the founders of Accra Academy, Kofi George Konuah, James Akwei Halm-Addo, Samuel Neils Awuletey and Gottfried Narku Alema.

Side attraction would be the launch of the 80th Anniversary Book of Bleoo 74 (lead sponsors of the event). 

The event is aimed at promoting the use of Hydroxyrea to treat sickle cell disease in the country, especially among children.

It would be supported by the Sickel Cell Foundation of Ghana, Sickel Cell Association of Ghana, Ghana Medical Association and Ghana Registered Nurses Association.

The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives, Ghana College of Pharmacists and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana would also participate in the lecture.

Ghana in 2018 became the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to provide quality healthcare for sickle cell patients, following the introduction of Hydroxyrea drug in the country.

The drug which was brought into the country following collaboration between the Sickle Cell Foundation, Ministry of Health and Novartis had been available across the country to help patients live a normal life.

The initiative was borne out of a Memorandum of Understanding between Ghana and Novartis (a global healthcare company based in Switzerland) at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, 2018.

Since then, efforts had been made by the government with support from private healthcare practitioners to utilise the drug in the treatment of the disease.

The lecture would support government’s effort as far as research and advocacy are concerned to ensure that the drug is accessible and used across the country.

Globally, more than 400,000 babies are born with sickle cell diseases annually with 80 percent of the number in sub-Saharan Africa, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics.

It is also estimated that approximately 1,000 children in Africa are born with the disease every day and more than half die before they reach five. Ghana estimates 15,000 births affected by sickle cell disease every year.

Sickle cell disease is recognised by the World Health Assembly as a public health priority and a neglected health problem in sub-Saharan Africa.

The step taken by  Ghana to provide the drugs to health centres across the country is aimed at ensuring that death caused by the disease would become a thing of the past.

Countries like the United States and Jamaica have more than 80 per cent of sickle cell children survival, and Ghana could also achieve that feat with the application of the drug after screening newly born babies.

BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE

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