Ghana Society of Dermatology re-launched after defunct for 30 years

The Ghana Society of Dermatology (GSD), was on Friday re-launched after being defunct for 30 years, to bring together all practitioners for effective operation and ensure quality healthy skin care of Ghanaians, in Accra.

Professor Margaret Lartey, President of the Society, said the group had a new face, broader vision and sought to broaden its membership to include key stakeholders involved in the maintenance of healthy skin.

These, she said included pharmaceutical industries, cosmetologists, skin advocates and patient support groups.

Prof. Lartey, defined dermatology as the branch of medicine concerned with the physiology and pathology of the skin, and stressed that the GSD intended to promote and provide healthy skin for Ghanaians through advocacy, education and training as well as ensure quality treatment of all skin disorders.

She said: “We also intend to collaborate with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to train and polish our members, which include key practitioners such as doctors, dermatology assistants and dermatologist, to be more vibrant and resourceful to every part of the country with the most needed assistance in skin health care.”

Prof. Lartey paid tribute to founding fathers of the Society, Prof. Hector Addo of Nyaho Clinic and Dermatologist at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Brigadier General A.B. Gyening (rtd), a dermatologist with 37 Military Hospital, and Prof. Edmund Delle, President of Rabito Clinic, for bringing practitioners together for quality service delivery.

However, she expressed concern over the increase in Out Patient Department cases across health institutions country-wide, indicating a high incidence of various skin diseases and disorders, which in most cases could be related to poor hygiene and the excessive use of cosmetics.

Prof. Lartey said the cosmetics contained a harmful chemical known as hydroquinone, which removed the outer covering of the skin making it lighter and susceptible to infections.

She called for the support and involvement of stakeholders including the media to educate and information the public on the need to maintain healthy skin and support the fight against skin bleaching in Ghana.

Prof. Lartey noted that issues on dermatology had been neglected for far too long in Ghana, and said the trend of emerging skin diseases required urgent coverage under the National Health Insurance Scheme to make treatment for basic skin disorders affordable to patients.

She called on the MOH to urgently consider such proposal to ensure quality skin care for Ghanaians.

Prof. Lartey urged interested practitioners and stakeholders to obtain forms from the Society’s Secretariat located at the Ghana Medical Association House at KBTH.

Mr Samuel Boateng, Director of Procurement, MOH, who represented the Deputy Health Minister, Mr Rojo Mettle Nunoo, launched the Society.

Mr Boateng  said that the practice of dermatology seemed to have been forgotten in the many demands for human and other resources.

He noted that re-launch of GSD was a critical step to awaken the consciousness of both government and stakeholders of the harmful effect of irresponsible actions that resulted in skin disease and disorders.

Mr Boateng said the stigma associated with skin disorders such as leprosy and ulcers resulting from skin bleaching, led to reduction in self esteem, which in the long run might result in people not giving their best in all aspects of their lives.

He pledged the Ministry’s support to intensify collaboration with the Society to train more personnel to expand their services to all parts of the country.

Mr Boateng urged the Society to work with Ghana Association of Traditional and Herbal Medicine Practitioners to find alternative herbal skin medications for effective treatment.

Source: GNA

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