Malaria, blood pressure, diabetes or breast cancer – many people in Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region and Asawase in the Ashanti Region suffer from these diseases. For financial reasons they are often not able to seek medical treatment. All of these diseases weaken the human immune system and can be fatal. Especially when illnesses like Covid 19 are added. Therefore, a team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and lab technicians offered free medical screening for 1,132 residents of these regions.

The team screened children as young as two months old and adults as old as 93years and made frightening findings. A lot of people in Ashaiman are living with high blood pressure and diabetes. “There was an elderly man above 70years with high sugar level of almost 30milimoles that we needed to immediately bring under control.The range should be between 3 and 6mol” said Jacqueline Awenjaab, a Physician Assistant at 37 Military Hospital.

In Asawase, the doctors observed known hypertensives who had stopped taking their medications for at least two years or switched to herbal treatment. According to one of the medical team, Dr. Frederick Agey-Jesus, a General Surgeon with Millennium City Hospital, “we also have patients who have had multiple strokes because they were not taking their medication. We have referred some of them to the nearest facility for further treatment and hope they survive. We also have examined four patients with thyroid swelling that must be managed at the regional or national level.

Dr. Brainerd Anani, Head of the Medical Team revealed, “This screening is important. It’s not like people here don’t know how to get to the hospital,. But they do not have money to go. Even if they go and are given prescription, they cannot buy. That is why for such screening, it is prudent to make basic medications available”.

People were also enrolled onto the National Health Insurance Scheme afresh or renewed for those with expired cards to enable them access to medical care.

The screening was one of many activities under the project “COVID 19: Comprehensive Pandemic Management for Employees, Families and Communities” funded through the GIZ-implemented develoPPP programme on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The project is aiming to strengthen the Ghanaian Health system by supporting government in accessing real time data delivered by systems such as the “Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS).

The system informs about the availability of health workers, outbreak and disease evolution or availability of supplies and consumables. The overall goal of the project is to better prepare businesses, local and district assemblies for pandemics and ensure they can withstand them in the future. Partners include Kasapreko, Golden Exotics, Blue Skies, Appointed Time Printing and Coca Cola.