Skin diseases on the increase in Ghana
The African Commission of Health and Human Rights Promoters (CAPSDH) on Sunday disclosed that skin diseases now constitute one of the top five out-patient cases in most hospitals in Ghana.
“The humidity, vectors, ignorance, way of life of people and skin bleaching which now starts at an early age have compounded the situation and Ghana is gradually moving towards an epidemic stage,” Dr Edmund N. Delle, CAPSDH President made this known during a strategic meeting in Accra, to launch series of skin care and human rights lectures.
The skin care and human rights lectures is being organised by CAPSDH in collaboration with Rabito Group of Clinics to educate the public on skin functions, nature of skin diseases, treatment, disregard and abuse of the skin and the alarming rate of unhealthy skin interference in the country.
CAPSDH is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the defence and promotion of the ideals enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the UN and the African Union’s charter on Human and People’s Rights with emphasis on Health.
It has observer status with the African committee on Human and People’s Rights and maintains an office in Geneva-Switzerland, which serves both as the UN desk and the European bureau.
Dr Delle, Dermatologist and founder of Rabito Group of Clinics said tampering with the skin, and skin disorders compromised beauty, and led to withdrawal from society.
He said an increasing quest for beauty created a situation where many people engage in lengthy daily rituals to ensure that they achieve what they consider to be a perfect shade of compression.
“Others take even more drastic action. They seem unaware or unafraid of the dangers associated with the sustained use of this practice,” Dr Delle noted.
“Bleaching in some parts of Africa is nothing less than a way of life. Women are known to have strict regimes where they take anything up to half an hour in the morning and evening smearing themselves with powerful soap and creams in an effort to attain their ideal of black beauty,” he said.
He said Africa had become the dumping ground for the world’s banned products, mostly goods that were prohibited in Europe years ago.
Dr Delle noted that some companies that manufacture exclusively for the African continent produce creams with dangerously high levels of the bleaching agent Hydroquinone.
“It’s not safe. I’m against it,” asserts Dr. Delle, who is also a senior member of the Africa Association of Dermatology.
He observed that people living in rural communities, who are struggling to exist below the poverty line, are also bleaching in earnest and are initiating dangerous techniques to participate in the trend.
He said unable to afford sophisticated creams and soap, they create their own home-made preparations, mixing everything from toothpaste, shampoo and milk to household bleach, cement and brake fluid. In short, anything that has a corrosive effect on the skin.
Dr Delle said some women had even developed a new procedure involving the smearing of hair relaxer all over the body and wearing up to three layers of clothing, including socks, gloves and long-sleeved tops, to protect themselves from the sun’s penetrating darkening rays.
Ms Linda Nana Nyarko, CAPSDH Administrative Assistant, explained that the Skin and Human Rights lecture series seeks to promote greater awareness of the skin and its functions expose the public to the nature, causes and treatment of skin disease, particularly the danger of unhealthy interference with the skin.
He said the fortnight lecture series is targeting institutions, bodies and women associations and called on interested groups to contact CAPSDH office at Osu, Accra for more information.