Ghana government asked to make Buruli ulcer treatment free

Steth3Dr Jarvis Abilla, the Medical Superintendent of Ga West Municipal Hospital, has urged the Government to cover Buruli Ulcer under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to relieve patients of the high cost of treatment.

He said an advocacy strategy and a fund raising plan must additionally be implemented to mobilise sustainable resources for Buruli Ulcer Control.

Dr Abilla made the recommendation at a ceremony at which Frimps Oil Co. Ltd donated to the Buruli Ulcer Ward of the Ga West Municipal Hospital, at Amasaman, the capital of Ga West Municipality.

He said the Hospital had relied on the generosity of companies, churches, and individuals and its internal resources, but these had not been sustainable for the up keep of the patients.

He explained that the donor pool fund, which received resources from organisations had also collapsed, giving some challenges to the facility.

Dr Abilla said some patients had been abandoned by their families and had been in the hospital for more than three years, indicating that the future plans of such patients were in jeopardy.

He explained that the disease was found usually in poor communities, which were close to damps or lakes; and in mostly Sub- Saharan Africa, and some part of Asia.

The medical doctor said the mode of transmission had not been confirmed but the causative organism was mycobacterium ulcerans.

He said an early diagnosis resulted in effective treatment and cure but a late diagnosis often led to deformities, which could lead to the amputation of the limbs.

Skin grafting, however, could save the patient.

According to information on the World Health Organisation’s website, “Buruli ulcer often starts as painless nodules, usually on the arms or legs.

“These then develop into large ulcers, with a whitish-yellowish base. Although most ulcers eventually heal, poorly managed patients may develop severe scars and local deformities, including disabling contractures.

“The disease occurs most frequently in children living in rural tropical environments, near wetlands. It can be treated with antibiotics and surgery.”

Some of the patients the Ghana News Agency (GNA) spoke to, at the Ward, burst into tears during an interview.

They expressed anguish at their conditions and appealed to the Government and the public to go to their aid.

Source: GNA

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