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Paediatrician appeals for support for Upper East Regional Sickle Cell Clinic

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A paediatrician at the Upper East Regional Hospital, Dr. Bertha Gibil has appealed to the government to include in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), portions of the treatment and management of sickle cell disease. 

Additionally, Dr. Gibil is asking for support for the Sickle Cell Clinic that has been established at the Upper East Regional Hospital. The Clinic, according to the paediatrician, meets on the first Thursday of every month. 

It serves as a learning and sharing platform for persons with sickle cell and parents of children with sickle cell.

Speaking to A1 Radio’s Mark Smith on the Day Break Upper East Show, Dr. Gibil asked for financial support to absorb some of the costs of treatment and tests for sickle cell patients. 

“There are a lot of challenges. We want to begin the hydroxyurea therapy I talked about but to start that, we need certain laboratory tests and those come with a cost. And for the hydroxyurea, we are hoping that as the presidency promised to put it into the NHIS, it comes to pass.”

“For the hydroxyurea, you need money,” she stressed. 

Dr. Gibil, a paediatrician, shed light on the cost burden faced by patients or caregivers due to the pricing of hydroxyurea capsules. According to Dr. Gibil, as of last year, a single capsule of hydroxyurea cost Ghc2. The dosage of this drug is determined based on the patient’s weight, meaning that heavier patients require larger quantities of the medication. This situation creates a significant financial strain for patients or their caregivers.

In response to this issue, Dr. Gibil has appealed to donors to step in and alleviate the financial burden by either halving the cost or fully absorbing the expenses for laboratory tests. Similar practices are already in place at well-established sickle cell clinics throughout the country.

The call for support from donors aims to address the pressing need for financial assistance in accessing crucial treatments for patients. By providing funding for laboratory tests, donors can contribute to easing the financial burden on patients and their families, ensuring that they receive the necessary care without facing overwhelming costs.

“I will be happy if we get support, for people to come in an say that okay, we will come halfway and take the cost of half of their bills for labs. That would be fine.”

Dr. Gibil’s plea emphasises the importance of collaboration and external support to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for those in need, particularly in the context of sickle cell clinics. 

World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is observed annually on June 19th to raise awareness about sickle cell disease (SCD) and the challenges faced by individuals living with this genetic disorder. SCD affects millions of people worldwide, particularly those of African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent. This day serves as an opportunity to educate the public, promote early diagnosis and treatment, and advocate for better support and resources for individuals and families affected by SCD.

On World Sickle Cell Awareness Day, various organisations, healthcare professionals, and individuals come together to organise events, seminars, and campaigns to spread knowledge about SCD. The aim is to dispel misconceptions, promote genetic counselling, and highlight the importance of early detection through newborn screening programs. It is also a day to recognize the strength and resilience of individuals living with SCD and to support ongoing research efforts for improved treatments and ultimately a cure. By raising awareness and fostering a sense of community, World Sickle Cell Awareness Day plays a crucial role in improving the lives of those affected by this challenging condition.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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