First Lady, thousands join BCI’s cancer awareness walk in Koforidua

The First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo joined over 40,000 people in the Eastern Regional capital Koforidua, for the 7th annual breast cancer awareness walk dubbed “Walk for the Cure.”

The event which was under the auspices of Breast Care International, is to highlight the dangers associated with the deadly breast cancer diseases and the need for women to seek early treatment to prevent them from falling victim to the disease.

Enthusiastic participants made up of the Eastern Regional Minister, government appointees, breast cancer survivors, their children, breast cancer ambassadors, staff of BCI, clergy, society organizations and residents held placards with inscriptions like “breast cancer is curable” and “breast cancer is survivable” to reinforce the theme of the month-long campaign: ”OUR BREASTS, LET’S CHECK THEM.”

It is estimated that every 69 seconds, someone dies from the breast cancer disease globally, and approximately 456,000 women die from the disease every year, while 2,062 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in Ghana last year alone.

Based on this backdrop, President of Breast Care International, Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai called for more awareness creation to save more lives.

She revealed that, in Ghana, breast cancer continues to occupy the first position in mortality and about 60% of our patients report to the hospitals with late-stage disease, making it difficult for a cure.

She underscored the need for early detection and prompt action since more than 50% of all our breast cancer patients are below the age of 50 years, making the disease a matter of public health concern as well.

“It was about time breast cancer was given the attention it deserved. As the number one killer of women Breast cancer statistics would remain a scar on our conscience, if we do not collectively fight the condition as a National disaster”, she stressed.

Dr. Waife Addai who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Peace and Love hospitals was happy the awareness creation is yielding positive results since the annual BCI Ghana Walk for the Cure has assumed a National character, attracting people from every strata of society.

“We are riding on this National acceptance to increase our visibility, and by extension, heighten and sustain awareness about this debilitating disease, which, but for our consistency, would have needlessly destroyed several precious lives and families” she added.

The choice of Koforidua, the cancer surgeon stressed is because, their walk coincided with “Akwantukese” festival of the people in the region, blending tradition with health.

Dr. Wiafe Addai paid glowing tribute to headline sponsor Delta Airlines, the Regional Minister, Multinational companies, corporate bodies, individuals and the media for their immeasurable and unflinching support, both financial and material.

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline

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Many women reporting breast cancer cases late – Specialist

A medical doctor at the Lister Hospital, Dr Claudia Gyimah has expressed worry that fear is holding many breast cancer patients from seeking early medical attention.

According to her, many women have had their breast amputated as a result of reporting late at health facilities with breast cancer cases.

She explained that because many people lacked information on the disease, whenever they detect some abnormal lumps in their breasts, they rather resort to herbal medicines for treatment due to the fear that when they report at health facilities, their breasts would be cut off.

Screening

She said some breast cancer patients report their cases only when their conditions deteriorate.

Dr Gyimah, who was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic during a breast cancer screening exercise organised jointly by Twellium Industries Limited and Lister Hospital at Kaneshie over the weekend said breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women in Ghana.

Some officials from Lister Hospital and Twellium Industries at the breast screening exercise
Some officials from Lister Hospital and Twellium Industries at the breast screening exercise

She said although the disease used to be prevalent among women above 40 years, recent statistics indicates that many young people in their 20s are also developing the cancers.
She has, therefore, encouraged women in particular to seek early health intervention whenever they discover abnormalities in their breasts.

Check-ups

Dr Gyimah said seeking medical intervention early would help to save many breast cancer patients and potential breast cancer patients from having their breasts cut off or dying from the disease.

She, however, advised women who have breast cancer patients in their families to regularly visit health facilities to check the status of their breasts, explaining that people who have breast cancer patients in their families are five times prone to the disease.

The Business Development Manager of Lister Hospital, Ms Afua Dadze said Lister Hospital was offering free breast screening for the month of October and called on women to take advantage of the offer.

CSR

The Assistant Marketing Manager of Twellium Industries, Ms Emelia Gyasi said the exercise formed part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.

A health walk was organised before the breast screening 

She said the company had embarked on other health screening exercises in various communities across the country as part of measures to promote good healthy living among Ghanaians.

About 500 people were expected to be screened at the exercise organised under the TWI Foundation instituted by the company to support the less privileged in the society.

She said since the formation of Twellium foundation in December 2016, it has supported many vulnerable people in society in the areas of health, business and education.

The walk

The screening started with a health walk from Kanda and ended at Azuma Nelson Sports Complex at Kaneshie, where the screening was done.

Some of the participants going through aerobics before the breast screening 

Source: Ghana | Graphiconline

First Lady calls for collective efforts to build Ghana

The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has called on Ghanaians and corporate bodies to build the spirit of volunteerism and social responsibility to move the country forward.

“Let us build this nation together,” she said.

Mrs Akufo-Addo said this when officials from HFC Bank called on her, in Accra, to present a cheque for GH¢270,000 being donations mobilised from a cycling event.

The cycling event, which was a 688-kilometre ride from Tamale to Accra by 13 cyclists, was to raise funds for the construction of a Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound for the Nyanshegu community in Tamale in the Northern Region.

Dubbed the ‘Ride-Out-Malaria’ Initiative, it was a collaboration between Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation, where the First Lady is the chairperson, and HFC Bank.

Mrs Akufo-Addo commended HFC for its participation in governance and in the provision of essential services to better the lot of all citizens.

Cycling for funds

The cycling team which was led by Mr Issah Mohammed, a cyclist, also had HFC’s Board Chairman, Mr Charles Zwennes, participating in the 688km ride which took them eight days.

While commending officials for the gesture, Mrs Akufo-Addo said by the generosity of the bank, “A child will be saved; and a pregnant mother will be assured of decent health care.

“Because of you, the people of Nyanshegu can boast of a community health centre. Because of such selflessness, humanity can have hope for the future”.

She emphasised that the total eradication of malaria in Ghana was very dear to her heart, it was that passion to see a malaria free Ghana that led to the formation of the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation.

She said over the years, her foundation had made significant strides in the prevention of malaria campaign and that the concept of the CHPS compound played a central role in the fight against malaria, while it rendered other services that were essential and fundamental to human health.

Related: My husband has good plans for Ghana; give him more time – First Lady

The First Lady promised to try her best to mobilise a lot more resources to improve the welfare of mothers and children.

Mr Zwennes, who presented the cheque to the First Lady, as well as a frammed T-shirt signed by all the 13 cyclists including one female cyclist, said the funds were raised from individuals, corporate institutions, some staff of HFC Bank as well as the bank as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR).

He gave an assurance that the bank would continue to gather more funds to support the Infanta Foundation to provide support to the country.

The First Lady presented gold medals to the donors as well as the 13 cyclists for their dedication.

Source: Ghana | Graphiconline

Takeaway packs pose danger — Health researcher warns

Young people have been advised to stop eating food from styrofoams, popularly known as takeaway packs.

A Researcher into Human Health, Mr Effa Baffo Gyamfi, who gave the advise, explained that styrofoams are made from black waste from petroleum fuel distillation popularly known as coal tar. Therefore, when food is put in them, they leach these dangerous chemicals into the food making it toxic for human consumption.

Mr Gyamfi, who is also a Library Assistant at the University of Ghana Medical School, Korle Bu, stated that the chemicalS in the takeaway packs called Styrene also cause low sperm counts (having fewer sperms than normal) in men.

Prostrate enlargement

Moreover, he told the Graphic Youth World that young men who continuously ate from the takeaway packs could suffer from prostrate enlargement later in life.

“If one eats food from a takeaway pack once every day, it is likely he or she will not survive beyond 10 years,” he added.

Explaining further, Mr Gyamfi said when plastics including takeaway packs  come into contact with anything that contains oil, salt, alcohol, heat and acid like pepper,  the chemicals in the packs leach the dangerous substances used in their manufacture into the food at a very high rate and this could be dangerous to one’s health.

It is very common in the country these days to find at social gatherings like funerals, weddings, some restaurants as well as food vendors dishing out food in takeaway packs because of the convenience of carrying the food from one place to another.

From waakye to rice and stew, beans and gari, pastries among other foods, people prefer their foods to be dished out in these packs which come in various colours, shapes and sizes.

Mr Gyamfi said instead of using takeaway packs, food could be put in leaves, foils or one should buy with their own stainless steel bowls.

Ghana Standards Authority

When contacted, the Executive Director of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Prof Alexander Nii Oto Dodoo, said the GSA could report only on products legally in the country and those that are submitted to the GSA for certification.

For plastics used to package food, he explained, the GSA has not detected any migration of chemical into the food as per their studies.

“However, we are aware that there are several brands of plastic on sale that have not been assessed by us. We will, therefore, be increasing our market surveillance to ensure that all packaging materials for food in Ghana meet both the Ghana and international standards,” he assured.

Alcohol

Throwing more light on the dangers of eating food or drinking from plastics, Mr Gyamfi cautioned young people who patronised alcoholic beverages stored in small plastic sachets to desist from the practice since by doing that, they could be consuming poison.

“Plastics are made from chemicals that are very dangerous for human health. When these chemicals in plastics come into contact with alcohol, they leach dangerous chemicals such as antimony and phthalate into the alcohol. Phthalate causes low sperm count in men so for those young men who take alcohol in sachets, they might develop low sperm count later in life,” he explained.

Similarly, he said young ladies who patronise alcohol in sachets will have high estrogen levels which cause fibroids.

Alcohol in small sachets are very common in the country nowadays. They come in different brands.They are cheap and because they are small, it can easily be concealed in pockets. Some even keep them in their pockets when they attend social gatherings.

According to the BBC, Cameroun, Malawi and Senegal have banned the sale and production of alcohol in sachets.

Source: Ghana | Graphiconline

Get involved and let’s end mother-to-child HIV transmission – First Lady

The first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo has called for concerted efforts in ending Mother-to-child transmission of HIV and other health conditions that affect the well-being of women and children in the country.

Speaking at the launch of the National Acceleration Plan for Paediatric HIV Services at Ho in the Volta region on Thursday, she underscored the need for an all-hand-on-deck approach to ensure HIV free generation and safe motherhood.

“Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is about 10 per cent and coverage of care for children and adolescents is still very low; below 30 per cent. This is why I find it very necessary and timely to launch this plan to drive us to urgently move beyond business as usual, to fast track the implementation of critical services for our children and adolescents,” she noted.

She also accentuated the need for women to undertake periodic breast screening for early detection and treatment of any breast cancer condition, which is leading women to their early grave.

The 5-year Paediatric HIV Services action plan, developed by the Ghana Health Service and its partners in conjunction with the National AIDS Control Programme, is aimed at putting 90 percent of all children and adolescents living with HIV on treatment by the year 2020.

According to the 2016 HIV Sentinel Survey report, HIV Prevalence amongst expectant mothers attending antenatal clinic was 2.4 per cent nationwide, with the Volta and Brong Ahafo regions recording the highest prevalence rate of 2.7 per cent.

Deputy Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Gloria Quansah, said the service was poised to ensure the full implementation of the plan, as a 15-member task team under the technical leadership of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) has been constituted to work towards the realization of the plan’s objectives.

Helen Odido, a representative of the Joint UN team on AIDS, called for adequate resource allocation towards the implementation of the National Acceleration Plan for Paediatric HIV Services, so as to improve the low coverage of HIV treatment among adolescents.

The Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa entreated residents of the region to voluntarily check their HIV status in order to fashion out ways to keep safe with or without the virus.

He also commended the first lady for using the region to start her ‘Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission: Key to an HIV free Generation and Keeping Mothers Alive,’ advocacy campaign in the country.

The campaign, which is an initiative between the Ghana Chapter of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA), Ghana AIDS Commission and a host of partners, includes a Community health outreach activities, where free HIV, breast cancer and general health screening was provided to residents of the Ho Municipality.

Mrs. Akufo-Addo who is a steering committee member of OAFLA, also presented assorted food items to the association of Persons Living with HIV in the region.

Source: Ghana | Starrfmonline

Is popcorn healthy? here is what you need to know

Whether popcorn is “healthy” depends how you eat it.

In its purest form — that is, plain air-popped kernels — it’s a healthy, whole-grain, antioxidant-rich snack food that comes at a pretty low-calorie cost for those who like to mindlessly nibble: A three-cup serving of air-popped popcorn has only 93 calories, 1 gram of fat and close to 4 grams of fiber.

But movie theater popcorn, which is popped in coconut oil before salt and a “buttery topping” are added, is a distant cousin to its more clean-living relative.

According to a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a medium bucket of popcorn holds 20 cups and contains 1,200 calories, 980 milligrams of sodium and 60 grams of saturated fat, or about three days worth. Even if you ate only 3 cups (probably unlikely), you would still consume about half a day’s worth of saturated fat.

If you’re buying pre-popped popcorn in supermarkets, be sure to check nutrition labels, as serving sizes, sodium and sugars vary. Kettle corn, for example, can have up to 4 teaspoons of sugar per 1¼-cup serving.

But Skinny Pop’s original popcorn has zero grams of sugar and close to 4 cups per serving. Sodium levels can range too, from 75 milligrams for Skinny Pop’s original popcorn to 310 milligrams for Wise’s white cheddar version.

If you’re popping at home in the microwave, choose light or lower-fat versions. Limit the amount of salt and butter you add, and consider adding herbs such as basil, oregano or red pepper flakes — or even Parmesan cheese instead.

Source: CNN

Health alert: Oral sex producing unstoppable bacteria

Oral sex is producing dangerous gonorrhoea and a decline in condom use is helping it to spread, the World Health Organization says.

It is warning that if you contract gonorrhoea, it is now much harder to treat and in some cases impossible.

The sexually transmitted infection is rapidly developing resistance to antibiotics.

Experts said the situation was “fairly grim” with few new drugs on the horizon.

Around 78 million people pick up the STI each year and it can cause infertility.

The World Health Organization analysed data from 77 countries and it showed gonorrhoea’s resistance to antibiotics was widespread.

Dr Teodora Wi, from the WHO, said there had even been three cases – in Japan, France and Spain – where the infection was completely untreatable.

She said: “Gonorrhoea is a very smart bug, every time you introduce a new class of antibiotics to treat gonorrhoea, the bug becomes resistant.”

Worryingly, the vast majority of gonorrhoea infections are in poor countries where resistance is harder to detect.

“These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg,” she added.

Oral sex

Gonorrhoea can infect the genitals, rectum and throat, but it is the latter that is most concerning health officials.

Dr Wi said antibiotics could lead to bacteria in the back of the throat, including relatives of gonorrhoea, developing resistance.

She said: “When you use antibiotics to treat infections like a normal sore throat, this mixes with the Neisseria species in your throat and this results in resistance.”

Thrusting gonorrhoea bacteria into this environment through oral sex can lead to super-gonorrhoea.

“In the US, resistance [to an antibiotic] came from men having sex with men because of pharyngeal infection,” she added.

A decline in condom use, which had soared because of fears of HIV/Aids, is thought to help the infection spread.


What is gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea
CAVALLINI JAMES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The disease is caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoea.

The infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.

Of those infected, about one in 10 heterosexual men and more than three-quarters of women, and gay men, have no easily recognisable symptoms.

But symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods.

Untreated infection can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy.


The World Health Organization is calling on countries to monitor the spread of resistant gonorrhoea and to invest in new drugs.

Dr Manica Balasegaram, from the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, said: “The situation is fairly grim.

“There are only three drug candidates in the entire drug [development] pipeline and no guarantee any will make it out.”

But ultimately, the WHO said vaccines would be needed to stop gonorrhoea.

Prof Richard Stabler, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “Ever since the introduction of penicillin, hailed as a reliable and quick cure, gonorrhoea has developed resistance to all therapeutic antibiotics.

“In the past 15 years therapy has had to change three times following increasing rates of resistance worldwide.

“We are now at a point where we are using the drugs of last resort, but there are worrying signs as treatment failure due to resistant strains has been documented.”

Source: BBC