Accra, June 12, GNA – The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has presented a cheque for GH¢500,000.00 to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana to help carry out sensitisation activities and mitigate the cost of managing the disease.
The support comes days after the national oil company pledged to support activities that could make sustainable and long-lasting impact on the lives of people.
Mr Alexander Kofi Mensah Mould, the Chief Executive Officer of GNPC, who presented a dummy cheque on Friday, told the Ghana News Agency that the gesture was to reinforce the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts.
He said GNPC attached great importance to human resource development and was redirecting its support to health, particularly, on sickle cell due to high cost of its medicines and the fact that the disease was not easily curable.
“When people are sick, it reduces productivity of the nation and the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] is also affected,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the support would cushion the Foundation to reach out to many people suffering from the sickle cell disease.
The World Health Organisation reports that at least two per cent of sickle cell disease prevalence in Ghana and other African countries is carried genetically with about 18,000 babies born each year with the disease in the country.
Health experts also estimate that 10 to 40 per cent of the African population, including Ghana, are mostly carriers of the disease and one out four persons in Ghana has it.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition that affects haemoglobin, found inside the red blood cell.
Professor Kwaku Ohene-Frimpong, President of the Foundation, said part of the money would be used to assist patients directly and also the training of counsellors and the implementation of the foundation’s newborn screening programme of the disease.
He said contributions from local organisations like the GNPC, impresses foreign donors, who would be willing to help because “they know that when they withdraw their support the programme will still go on.”
The GNPC is supporting the Foundation to implement the Scale-up Plan of the National Newborn Screening Programme for Sickle Cell Disease, under a proposed four-year plan.
The plan, if implemented, would expand newborn screening to all districts by the end of 2017/2018.