Government, through the Ministry of Health, has ratified the World Lupus Day proclamation, ahead of the celebration, which falls today, Wednesday, May 10.
The Proclamation is to validate Ghana’s commitment as part of the global community striving to find a solution to the cause, diagnosis and treatment of Lupus.
Ghana signed onto the proclamation on the request of the World Lupus Federation and Oyemam Autoimmune Foundation, an advocacy group championing awareness on Lupus.
This year, the Day will be marked on the theme: “Lupus Knows no Boundaries” and will focus on the need for heightened awareness, improved patient healthcare service, increased research into the causes and a cure for Lupus and enhanced physician diagnosis and treatment of Lupus.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that develops when a person’s immune system, which defends the body against disease, becomes confused and identifies its healthy cells as foreign and consequently, attacks its own healthy cells.
Mr Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, the Deputy Minister of Health, who signed the proclamation on behalf of government commended Oyemam Autoimmune Foundation for its effort to create awareness of the effects of the disease and how best to get the needed attention.
He acknowledged the high rate of ignorance about these conditions, pledging the commitment of government and support to ensure that a lot more awareness was created to education the public on the disease.
He said it was an eye opener to learn about the disease and expressed the hope that more corporate institutions would come on board to continue to create the needed awareness to save lives.
Mrs Emma Wilhelmina Halm Danso, the Founder of the Foundation, in an interview with GNA, said Lupus was a cruel mystery that was taking lives in Ghana undetected, through either misdiagnosis or late diagnosis by which time the disease activity has far advanced and caused damage.
She said the disease attacks women predominately, increases their vulnerability and devastates lives yet there was relatively very low awareness and support for the condition.
Mrs Danso said as Ghana mobilized for its future, it was crucial that the nation demonstrated its involvement in the fight against this global health problem that affected people of all nationalities, race, ethnicities, age and gender.
The World Lupus Federation has called for increase in public and private sector funding for medical research on lupus, targeted education programmes for health professionals, patients and the public and worldwide recognition of lupus as a significant public health issue.
In the proclamation, the Federation said many physicians worldwide were unaware of symptoms and health effects of lupus, causing people with lupus to suffer for many years before they obtain a correct diagnosis and medical treatment.
It also said medical research efforts into lupus and the discovery and development of safer, more effective treatments for lupus patients were under-funded in comparison with diseases of similar magnitude and severity.
The event was witnessed by Mrs Tina Mensah, Deputy Minister of Health, Mrs Gifty Twum Ampofo, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Dr Afisah Zakariah, Chief Director, Ministry of Health.