Ghana marks International Scoliosis Awareness Day; screened over 900 Pupils
Scoliosis Foundation Ghana(SFG) in collaboration with FOCOS Orthopaedic Hospital and Inspire to Rise(NGOs) have marked this year’s International Scoliosis Awareness Day with a sensitization forum and subsequently screened over 900 Pupils from Kanda Cluster of Schools for Scoliosis.
This year’s event was staged at the Kanda Cluster of Schools in Accra on Friday, June 23. It was on the theme: “Be Aware of Scoliosis”.
Various speakers took turns at the forum to address the students on the significance of the day. The key message for the day was focused on awareness creation and early detection of Scoliosis, galvanizing support for the affected and dispelling fear and stigma surrounding the condition.
Out of the over 900 pupils who were screened for Scoliosis, 1 case was recorded.
Scoliosis is a disorder with abnormal sideways or lateral curvature of the spine. A normal spine from the back is straight. In cases Scoliosis, the spine can curve to the right or left in the upper body, and may even have rotation of the spine or a combination of both. The curvature can be mild, moderate or severe. Most commonly it can be seen as C or S curve or increased hunching is also a form of Scoliosis.
According to United States National Scoliosis Foundation, it affects 2-3% of the population. It impacts and adults worldwide with little regard to race or socioeconomic status. However in Ghana the condition is real but usually regarded as something caused by witches or evil forces with low public awareness on its existence and how it can be fixed.
But speaking at the forum, Founder of Scoliosis Foundation Ghana(SFG), Mr. Gabriel Ntow charged the public to eschew the speculation attached to Scoliosis that it’s caused by evil spirits. He explained Scoliosis is the curvature of the spine,a condition that can affect anyone. ” Its not infectious, not a disease but a spine condition and has nothing to do with superstition but it can be fixed”.
Gabriel who is extremely hopeful Scoliosis can be corrected has been living with the condition for the past 38 years. His major concern is to see the young ones who also found themselves in similar unfortunate situation get help. He said that was what informed his decision to come out with the Scoliosis Foundation of Ghana.”I’ve lived all my life with the condition and still living with it but I’m more concerned about the younger ones who are just coming”.
According Gabriel Ntow who also doubles as Executive Director of SFG maintained there are lots of children out there who are victims of the condition who need help urgently to get it fixed but unfortunately lack support due to fact that people are either not aware of the condition or believes it is superstitious.
He therefore called on the government, corporate Institutions, churches, civil society organizations and philanthropists to come to the aid of the Scoliosis Foundation and support it financially to help most children with the condition undergo surgery to have it corrected.
He explained another way through which his outfit intends to help is “we want to go to the nook and cranny of the nation to raise awareness and let people know that Scoliosis is a condition that can be corrected”.
Dr Mahmud Rufai an orthopaedic surgeon at the FOCOS Orthopaedic Hospital, encouraged parents and guardians to always endeavour to screen their wards periodically so as to detect any trace of Scoliosis at the early stages with the view of fixing it before it develops to higher stage so as to save cost of treatment.
He underscored the need for rigorous awareness creation of Scoliosis by all and sundry coupled with early screening and detecting of the condition as key to correcting it.
Dr. Mahmoud, demystifying the myths surrounding Scoliosis in a speech disclosed its causes are not yet known but efforts are being made to bring it to light.
A 12-year-old Scoliosis Ambassador, Emily Darko in her speech narrated her ordeal during the time she was living with the condition said it was a difficult situation to manage. She commended Focos Orthopaedic Hospital, SFG and other benevolent organizations for coming to her aid at the time her condition was critical requiring surgery to correct the defect with her spine to aid her live a normal life. She pledged her commitment to help raise awareness on the condition to help others children who are victims get help.
Helena Owereidu, another victim who got saved from the dreaded condition which she was living in at the age of thirteen (13) said she got healed six years through the support of Focus Orthopaedic Hospital, SFG and other donors to get her spine corrected.
According to her, Scoliosis is not a good condition for anyone to live in because “it limits one from doing things a normal human being can do therefore people who are living in it should be helped”. Being a school drop out and not also working under the condition for the past six years, Helena Owereidu who currently works as a receptionist at Focos Orthopaedic Hospital could not hide her joy as she thanked God and all those who supported her to regain her normal life. She urged the public to support other victims financially and also help raise awareness on the condition so they can also saved.
The founder of Inspire to Rise, Wendy Laryea was elated about the level of awareness gained so far as a result of efforts being made by Scoliosis Foundation of Ghana(SFG) with support from the other stakeholders including her organization. She has therefore pledged her unflinching support towards increased awareness creation on the condition to save lives.
The International Scoliosis Awareness Day (ISAD) is a day set aside to unite people all over the world to create awareness of Scoliosis, promote education and bring together those affected by the condition. It is usually celebrated on every last Saturday of June since its inception on June 29, 2013 by the Scoliosis Association UK(SAUK).
In a related development, the Publisher of Treasure Kids Newspaper, Ms. Precious Kyei Bonsu has donated 250 copies of the newspaper to support the Pupils of Kanda Cluster of Schools to enhance their reading abilities.
According to the Publisher, the move to support the kids with the Newspaper emanates from the desire to see children get motivated to read and be impacted with the right information.
She disclosed there are lots of news going on in the world but unfortunately “no one is able to tell the kids the news in their perspective for them to understand” hence the need to come out with the newspaper publication.
Explaining the rationale behind the gesture to Ghananewsone.com, Ms. Precious Bonsu said: “Information is key so this paper goes to children to inform them about the world, to tell them the news as going around and explain things to them much better in a kids sense and so when I’ve heard that there’s Scoliosis awareness going on, I thought it is a great privilege to introduce the paper to them and also to publish the event itself in the next edition for the children to read about”.
The Treasure Kids Newspaper is a monthly publication sold at GH¢ 2.50 pesewas per copy. Initiated six months ago, the Treasure Kids News seeks to educate children and inculcate the habit of reading in them with the aim of giving them the voice to be part of the society.
By Joseph Kobla Wemakor/Ghananewsone.com