The Department of Pharmacology of the University for Development Studies (UDS), has embarked on a campaign to educate 5000 students on the sickle cell disease and facilitate screening of those who do not know their haemoglobin genotype.
The year-long campaign, which forms part of the community service activity of the Department of Pharmacology for 2017, was necessitated by a research conducted by members of the department and a student of the School of Medicine and Health Science (SMHS) of UDS in 2012.
The research showed that, knowledge and attitude with regards to the sickle cell disease even among the educated members of the Ghanaian society was not good enough.
Pharmacist, Evans Paul Kwame Ameade, Coordinator of sickle cell disease Campaign at UDS, said three in every 10 people in the country had a sickle cell trait.
Mr Ameade, who is also Lecturer at the Department of Pharmacology of the UDS, said it is, therefore, important to educate people especially the unmarried to make informed choices in life hence the campaign.
Sickle cell disease is a genetic disease, which claims the lives of many children before age five and for those who grow into adulthood; it is a life full of pain and suffering.
He said sickle cell disease puts a lot of strain on resources and this is besides the psychological effects on the parents as they seek to secure medical help for their wards with the disease.
He said the only cure for sickle cell disease was a bone marrow transplant, which was a risky and expensive medical procedure available to people up to 16 years.
Mr Ameade, therefore, advised those yet to marry to get tested to know their status and choose partners to avoid the disease saying “your blood can be a killer.”
He appealed to well-meaning organisations and individuals to support the UDS in its campaign to educate the populace on the sickle cell disease.
Professor Francis Abatanga, Dean of SMHS of UDS, urged students to help educate other members of society about the disease and what to do to avoid it.
Some of the participants during the launch of the campaign urged government to come out with a law to penalize those who knew they were positive but went ahead to marry and produce children, who would automatically have the disease.