The Gibeleen and Sandra Foundation (GNS Foundation) has organised free sickle cell screening for over 100 students at the South Labone Girls' Vocational Training Centre to mark this year’s Sickle Cell Awareness Day.
The exercise was also aimed at raising awareness of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and providing special genetic counselling to participants.
At the event, the Executive Director of the GNS Foundation, Sandra Amponsah Ayivor, said the foundation was passionate about raising awareness of sickle cell among students because the disease could prevent the younger generation from reaching their full potential in life.
“We are here today to screen and create massive awareness of the SCD. So we invited seasoned health professionals to give these girls all the education they need before the SCD screening.
“We have seen the massive effect of SCD and how it can prevent the younger generation from reaching their potential in life, and that is why we are very passionate about creating awareness of it among students,” Ms Ayivor said.
She said the mission of the foundation was to give back to the society, “hence we are not only passionate to create awareness of SCD, but very concerned about how vulnerable ones can be well managed so they can actually live up to their potential”.
A medical officer at the Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Dr Sylvester Annan Mensah, who described the exercise as important, said SCD was a chronic condition that was very common among Africans.
“In Ghana, about two per cent of births have the condition, meaning that it is very important that we have more education on it as a people.
Also, there are many misconceptions on the subject which have to be cleared.
“So I am very elated that the foundation is educating and organising free screening to enable these students to know their genotypes. I believe this advocacy on the condition and knowing their genotypes will help them take precautions against SCD,” he said.
For her part, the Manageress of the South Labone Girls' Vocational Training Centre, Gifty Tekpor, expressed appreciation to the foundation for the gesture.
“On behalf of the centre, I want to thank the GNS Foundation for this exercise. This is one of a kind and I believe this gesture will help us and these skilful girls in the long run,” she said.