News


2014 Applications to join Ghana Medical Volunteers Opened

posted Jan 24, 2014, 10:27 AM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa, initiators of the Ghana Medical Volunteers program is please to make public announcement of the launch of its 2014 opportunities. 

All applications will be reviewed on merit and successful applicants informed accordingly. We have very limited space available.

All the best!

Managament

Ghana AIDS Commission holds 2010 Partnership Forum

posted Nov 17, 2010, 6:41 PM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

Accra, Nov. 17, GNA - Speakers at the 2010 HIV and AIDS Partnership Forum on Wednesday agreed that though the National Prevalence Rate of HIV and AIDS was stabilising, community, district and regional variations were significant.

They also noted that determinants including stigmatisation, discrimination and marginalisation of most at risk population continued to be a challenge.

Other determinants identified are low condom use, multiple concurrent partners and gender which has been attributed to social cultural stereotypes and beliefs, polygamous culture in Ghana, legal barriers and the low empowerment rate among women.

The forum is a platform to review progress of implementation of the 2010 programme of work, to present, discuss and validate the priorities for the National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS 2015 and ultimately indicate the continued commitment to the national response through the signing of an Aide Memoire.

The strategic plan is designed to provide an overall planning guide for a much expanded effort to deal with the epidemic including improvements to the supporting environment.

It was also aimed at preventing new infections, targeting behavioural change, programmes for the population as well as specific vulnerable groups, treatment, care and support, and combating stigma and discrimination. Dr Angela El-Adas, Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) noted that the strategy had provided the framework and road map for the nation and served as a comprehensive multi-sectoral plan through which all stakeholders collaborated to implement, monitor and evaluate HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes at national, regional district and community levels.

She said the 2010 implementation period identified the need to demonstrate changes in the epidemic brought about by efforts with the five-year period and to see whether or not the strategic, structures set up, the resources and the coordinating mechanism remained relevant and had yielded the desired results.

"We have since made great strides in setting priorities, formulating targets and designing strategies based on empirical baseline bio-behavioural and epidemiological data", she said.

Dr El-Adas noted that GAC and collaborators would go beyond the development of a strategic framework to a user friendly, evidence based, result oriented and gender responsive plan. Dr Nii Akwei Addo, Programme Manger National AIDS Control Programme said the current prevalence rate ranged between two per cent in Northern Region to 4.2 per cent in the Eastern Region and as low as 0.7 per cent in North Tongu District to 5.8 per cent in Agormanya and Koforidua. He said success had been chalked in areas such as access to health care for patients with advanced HIV infections, increase in school attendance among orphans and decrease in prevalence among female sex workers and males having sex with males.

However, Dr Addo noted that key challenges still remained in areas such as human resource weaknesses especially within the health system which affected logistics and commodities, Anti Retrovirals and condom availability.

Other challenges are weak coordination at the decentralised level, weak implementation capacity of some civil society organisations and community based organisations including monitoring and evaluation, inadequate sharing of information and 'Meeting fatigue' of partners leading to poor attendance of national level meetings.

Mr Leo Zekeng, UNAIDS Country Coordinator who read a speech on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon said though the national prevalence rate was stabilising areas such as coordination of the implementation at all levels, procurement and supply management, limited access to HIV services for those who needed it still remained a challenge. He called for renewed political and funding commitment to achieve universal access, improvement of integration and linkages between HIV and AIDS and related services such as TB, maternal and child health, sexual and reproduction health, strengthening coordination and management of decentralised AIDS response and bold measures to address legal and structural barriers that increase HIV vulnerability among women. Ms Julie Furuta-Toy, Deputy Chief of Missions and a representative of the Danish Embassy pledged their commitment to the fight against HIV and AIDS and called the scaling up of efforts and the political commitment to achieve universal access. 17 Nov. 10

Senya constructs clinic for accessible health care

posted Nov 17, 2010, 6:40 PM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

Senya (B/A), Nov. 17, GNA - Residents of Senya, a farming community in Nkoranza North District, are self-financing the construction of a clinic estimated at about GH¢ 10,000 in the area. Every adult male is contributing five Ghana cedis and adult female three Ghana cedis towards the project.

Mr Baffoe Krampim, immediate past Assembly Member for the area, told=

the Ghana News Agency that the community initiated the project to address=

the problems that faced them in accessing health facilities. "The nearest health centre that serves the community is at Yefri, wh= ich is about 12 kilometers away," he said, adding that the clinic, when completed, would serve other four settler farming communities, namely Konkrompe, Nyamebekyere, Atta-Kurom and Moi. Mr Krampim said the authorities of the Nkoranza North District Directorate of Health Services had assured the people of posting a Commun= ity Health Nurse to manage the clinic.

He however complained that a major challenge was lack of funds to furnish the clinic and appealed to the District Assembly to assist to ena= ble the people to enjoy quality health delivery service. Mr Krampim called on non-resident citizens to visit home regularly t= o help initiate development projects and to contribute towards their completion. 17 Nov. 10

Atlas Copco launches workplace HIV/AIDS policy with firm commitment

posted Nov 17, 2010, 6:39 PM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

Accra, Nov. 17, GNA - Atlas Copco Ghana, a worldwide industrial productivity solution provider, launched a workplace HIV/AIDS policy on Wednesday in Accra with a strong commitment to promote staff's health needs because it makes business sense.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr George Apostolopoulos said: "HIV/AIDS is a sensitive issue worldwide and therefore very important for us as a company. Atlas Copco is deeply committed to making sure that its workers live and work in healthy environment." The aim is to limit the further spread of HIV/AIDS, providing support for employees that are infected or affected with HIV/AIDS by creating a safe working environment.

The launch makes Atlas Copco the 39th private company in Ghana that has adopted a workplace HIV/AIDS policy and registered with the Ghana Business Coalition Against HIV/AIDS, an organization that mobilizes and empowers the Ghanaian business community to take effective action on the disease.

Mr Alex Banfo, an Executive Council Member of the Ghana Business Coalition Against HIV/AIDS, who performed the launch together with Mr Apostolopoulos, said companies must see HIV/AIDS workplace programmes as human resource investments. "When you have to replace a staff on grounds of health, it is a quite an expensive venture. This therefore shows that Atlas Copco is interested not only in the staff's welfare but more so itself. "Education on HIV/AIDS is important but more importantly a company accepting to do so for its workers and making it a workplace policy," Mr Banfo stressed.

The Coalition, he said, had initiated steps to expand its scope to include Malaria in its promotion programme because of the growing frightening statistics on the disease. Malaria currently forms about 22 percent of all deaths in Ghana which is a bigger productivity loss, he noted.

Dr Derek Nii Armah Aryee, Programme Director of the Coalition said the response to adopting the workplace policy by the private sector had been slow in Ghana compared to other nations.

He said since 2003, only about 40 companies had responded and urged other businesses especially medium and small enterprises to approach the Coalition for the technical assistance to make their work place safe and healthy for their workers.

Ms Susan Manu, the Deputy Human Resource Manager and Administrative Manager of Atlas Copco together with two other workers were inaugurated as HIV/AIDS Focal Person and peer educators respectively to see to the effective implementation of the policy. 17 Nov. 10

Medical outreach saves four-year old boy

posted Nov 1, 2010, 2:28 PM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

Adaklu-Blidokorpe (V/R), Oct. 1, GNA - A medical outreach by the Old Mawuli Students Union (OMSU) at Blidokope, a community in the Adaklu-Anyigbe District, on Saturday saved the life of a four-year-old boy who was critically ill with malaria. Bright Lugudor arrived at the Local Authority Primary School in the village, where the medical team pitched camp, strapped at his mother's back unconscious.

Lugudor, whose condition was treated as an emergency, within minutes, regained consciousness as his tense mother, Mad Victoria Boakye, looked on with delight. The outreach was part of activities to mark the 60th anniversary celebration of Mawuli School in Ho.

Madam Boakye told the Ghana News Agency that the boy had been vomiting for the past three days with very high temperature and said she had no money and had not registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Madam Boakye said on hearing news of the outreach, she trekked, sometimes breaking into trots, for close to an hour from her cottage to get to the health screening venue. She said she had tried to treat her son with some herbs but to no avail and expressed her gratefulness to the organizers of the outreach programme.

Dr. Timothy Letsa, the Volta Regional Director of Health Services, the Leader of the team, said Lugudor's case could have been fatal. He said the commonest ailments in the settler community, a difficult-to- reach area, were malaria and worm infestations. Some 200 children were vaccinated and 406 children and adults screened of various ailments and treated. 01 Oct. 10

Residents of Amasaman receive free eye screening

posted Nov 1, 2010, 2:23 PM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

GNA - Residents of Amasaman in the Greater Accra Region, on Saturday received free eye screening as part of Ghana Health Service monthly health promotion exercise. The exercise was aimed at educating and sensitizing the residents on the dangers of eye diseases and to bring optical service to the door steps of the less privileged in the area. Mrs Victoria Dankyi, Senior Nursing Office, Ga West Municipal Hospital, said due to hazardous activities in the community, most residents face eye related diseases.

She said sand winning and stone quarrying were the major commercial activity in the community that endangers the eye ignorantly. She said the exercise would go a long way to help them to detect eye problems of residents and provide the needed treatment if possible. Mrs Dankyi said the eye is a very delicate part of the body and washing of the face at least five times a day, together with eating lots of fruits and vegetables, could help to keep it strong.

She said "we do not live in an environmental friendly area and so it is important for one to attend regular eye check-up at least twice every year, to be able to detect any eye disease early" Ms Dankyi said glaucoma was one of the major causes of blindness in the world today after cataract, and that 15 per cent of blind cases could be prevented and 20 per cent partially treatable. She advised children not to fight or play with sticks, rubber bands, stones, catapults and sharp objects since such objects could damage the eye.

Ms Dankyi urged adults, who work at dangerous places such as the stone quarry; sand winning sites, and other harmful places to wear protective glasses to prevent their eyes from being harmed. She called on government, associations and organisations to assist the community with various eye testing equipment as well as medical officers to help to reduce the level of eye defects in communities. Glaucoma exists when the intra ocular pressure has been raised over a period causing damage to the optic nerve with corresponding loss of visual function. Untreated glaucoma results in blindness because of the irreversible damage it causes.

Minister asks traditional healers to certify their services

posted Oct 31, 2010, 5:36 PM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

Mr Rojo Mettle Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health, on Thursday asked traditional healers not to make categorical statements about their services until the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) had conducted clinical trials on them.

He also asked the Traditional Medicine Practice Council to bring sanity into their profession by enforcing their code of ethics. Mr Nunoo was addressing the practitioners at a day's conference organised by the New Agenda Foundation, a non- governmental organisation.

It was aimed at integrating the practitioners into the health delivery system. The Deputy Minister said government recognises the role of traditional medicine hence the need to regulate their practice. Answering a question on the alleged harassment and arrest of traditional healers by the FDB, he said although he was not comfortable with the operation, the board must be allowed to weed out the charlatans.

Mr Kwesi Boakye, Executive Director of the Foundation said the conference was aimed at making the participants to understand the need for regulation to bring sanity into their practice. In Interview with the Ghana News Agency, Head of Public Relation, Mr James Lartey said the FDB has not erred in regulating activities of the practitioners, quoting section 16 of the FDB law. He said the law forbids adverts for the treatment and cure of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, HIV/ AIDS, heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, kidney stone, hernia, pneumonia, Tuberculosis, small pox among other ailments. Mr Boakye said it is the duty of the Board to protect public health and safety.

Mass Measles Immunization takes off in Tema next month

posted Oct 26, 2010, 4:35 AM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

GNA - The Third Measles Immunization and Vitamin A Supplement Activities (SIAs), kick-starts in the Tema Metropolis, from November 3 to 5.

Mr Agudey Sika-Nartey, Tema Metropolitan Disease Control Officer, who disclosed this during a press briefing in Tema on Monday said, the Campaign, which has "Measles Kill, Immunize Your Child Now," as its theme, would have as its target group, children from nine months to less than five years.

Mr Sika-Nartey stated that his outfit was looking forward to vaccinating 61,694 children, and that each child would be given Vitamin A supplement.

The Metro Disease Control Officer said the Tema Metropolitan Area has been zoned into five areas for the purpose of the exercise, which are Tema township, Manhean, Kpone, Appolonia and Oyibi. He said 116 Vaccination Centres would be opened throughout the Metropolis.

Mr Sika-Nartey said it was gratifying that in Ghana, the introduction of the immunization against the six childhood killer diseases, had improved the health of children. He recounted how for the past eight years, no child had died from Measles in the country.

He said SIAs were organized every four years, since 2002, as a mop up, to help save the lives of children, who might not have been fully covered during the regular monthly routine. The Disease Control Officer urged parents to vaccinate their children because Measles kills, and even if the child was lucky to recover from it, he or she might suffer from some repercussions. "Irrespective of whether your child had been immunized or not, send it for immunization," he cautioned

He also stated that some children may react to the drug, with signs such as, feverishness, rashes as well as pain, redness and swelling at the place of vaccination.

He advised parents to report immediately to the nearest health facility, if they detect any of these signs or reactions for attention. 26 Oct. 10

People living with AIDS have mental challenges- NGO

posted Oct 10, 2010, 9:00 AM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

Accra, Oct. 10, GNA - MindFreedom Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) at the weekend observed that many people who suffer from medical conditions such as AIDS, cardiovascular diseases, severe trauma, diabetes and cancer have mental health conditions to grapple with.

"For instance depression is present in one of five out-patients with congestive heart failure. Yet the majority of such cases are not recognised or appropriately treated." The observation was made in a statement issued by Mr Dan Taylor, Executive Secretary of the NGO to mark World Mental Day on the theme: "Mental health and Chronic physical illnesses: the need for continued and integrated care".

The day is marked on the 10th of October every year. The statement said, estimates indicate that one in four persons with diabetes suffer from depressive symptoms, while the odds of developing depression and the rate of depression are doubled for people with the disease.

"Approximately half of all patients with terminal or advanced cancer suffer poor mental health. "Specifically, depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders plaque people with advanced or terminal cancer," the statement said.

The statement said death rates are as much as 25 per cent in cancer patients who felt depressed and 39 per cent higher in cancer patients who received a diagnosis depression. Depression is a disabling illness that affects about 15 per cent to 25 per cent of cancer patients.

"The burden of mental disorders is immense. They create a substantial personal burden for affected persons and their families, and magnificent economic and social hardships that affect the society entirely as well as a country's productivity. The statement said it is unfortunate that issues of mental health in Ghana for a very long time have been consigned to the fringes. "Indeed this has clearly manifested themselves in the neglect, under resourcing and lack of facilities in all the psychiatric hospitals and units in Ghana.

It quoted a World Health Organisation (WHO) report in 2001, which projected that within the lifetime of a society, 25 per cent out of every 100 people are bound to suffer from one form of mental illness or another.

The statement said: " 10 out of 100 people stand to be victims of mental illness at anytime and one out of 10 is bound to suffer from severe mental disorders.

"Ghana with a 22,000,000 population would have 220,000 persons with mental illnesses on its hand, not excluding the 2,200 affected by severe mental illness to grapple with.

"Worse still, the WHO projections seem to suggest that by 2010 mental illness will become the second largest non-communicable disease in the world with as many as 154 million people globally suffering from depression and 121 million others from anxiety cum stress related problems."

It expressed regret about the delay in the passing of the Mental Health Bill put together in 2006.

"All manner of reasons, excuses and explanations have been given for the delay in submitting this draft law to Parliament for enactment. The NGO called on human rights institutions, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to join hands to push government to get the draft law enacted, adding: "The time to act is now." 10 Oct. 10

Global Day for mental awareness

posted Oct 10, 2010, 8:59 AM by Ghana Medical Volunteers

Accra, Oct. 10, GNA - Sunday, October 10 marked the global day for mental health awareness that brings attention to mental illness and its effect on individual life, work, family and overall stability of communities and countries.

The celebration being championed in Ghana by BasicRights, an international non-governmental organisation is on the theme: "Mental health and chronic physical illnesses: the need for continued and integrated care."

A statement issued by Mr Badimak Peter Yaro of BasicRights Ghana at the weekend and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said: "The day promotes more open discussion of mental disorders and investments in prevention and treatment services."

It said non-communicable/chronic/long-term diseases are now the leading cause of death worldwide.

"Today, there is an increased understanding of the relationship between chronic physical illnesses such as cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer and respiratory illnesses and mental illnesses. "These four chronic physical illnesses, according to the World Health Organisation, accounts for 60 per cent of the world's deaths. 80 per cent of the deaths are happening in the poorest populations of the world.

"If nothing is done experts estimate that the world could witness another 388 million people dying prematurely within the next 10 years. "Also a person with these illnesses has much higher rate of depression and anxiety than the general population," the statement said. It said studies have shown that persons with severe or chronic physical illness often have a co-existing mental health problem, while those with severe mental illnesses or substance abuse have physical health problems that remain undetected and untreated. "We (BasicNeeds) note that even though mental health services are increasingly being recognised in Ghana as critical, mental health still remain ignored, budgetary allocations to mental health are low, mental health practitioners in the country continue to render services in difficult environment as they do not get the resources and support they deserve."

The statement said issues about stigma, access to treatment are all human rights issues, adding that people with mental disorders in Ghana are exposed to a wide range of human right violations. "The stigma they face means they are often ostracised from society and fail to receive the care they require.

"In certain circumstances people suffering from mental illness are restrained with metal shackles, confined in caged beds, deprived of clothing, decent bedding, clean water or proper toilet facilities and are subject to abuse and neglect."

The statement said people with mental disorders face discrimination on daily basis including in the fields of education, employment and housing.

It advocated that government through the Ministry of Health should work closely with mental health service users and family groups and other stakeholders in unified efforts to raise awareness and work towards changing public attitudes towards mental illness. "Mechanisms to monitor human rights should be established to protect against inhuman and degrading treatment, poor living conditions and inappropriate and arbitrary involuntary admission and treatment. "There is also the need to empower mental health service users and families. One of such groups is the recently established Mental Health Society of Ghana.

"Government should put in place mental health policies, laws and services that promote the rights of people with mental disorders, empower them to make choices about their lives, provide them with legal protection and ensure their full integration and participation into the community." The statement called on the government to speed up the passage of the mental health bill.

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