Mrs Emma Wilhelmina Halm Danso, the Executive Director of Oyemam Autoimmune Foundation, has urged the government and the private sector to support those affected by lupus, an autoimmune disease.
She said: “Lupus has been a mystery and a silent killer in our society for a long time, but this Foundation believes that the time to give it the needed attention is now,” she said.
An autoimmune disease 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.
Mrs Danso explained, in an interview with the GNA, that lupus was an inflammatory autoimmune disease that manifested in many different ways, saying it could be very difficult for family and friends of victims and the society, at large, to really understand, what their loved ones go through.
“Oyemam Autoimmune Foundation will continue to advocate for a National Autoimmune Commission to address the issues of autoimmunity in Ghana,” Mrs Danso said.
“Education is, therefore, key to bring a change in the status quo,” she added.
She said the symptoms of Lupus ranged from mild to life-threatening conditions, including chronic and extreme fatigue, organ damage, hair loss, blood clotting, inflammation of joints and muscles, anaemia and fever.
She said the standard therapies for treating lupus were generally aimed at helping patients feel better, inducing and maintaining a remission and preventing organ damage.
These, she said, were very expensive and tended to be extremely burdensome on the patient and their relatives because of the chronic nature of their condition.
“This has unfortunately, led to some patients being abandoned and left to their fate,” she added.
She said from the standard medications and other complementary therapies, support and love from people and society were very vital in inspiring hope in persons suffering from lupus.
She said according to the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus was one of the world’s cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases that had brutal impacts on sufferers.
The Executive Director of the Foundation noted that just like in other parts of the world, the prevalence of lupus was alarmingly on the increase and it was very crucial for society to show commitment to help fight the disease.
She said the Foundation remained committed to inspiring hope through advocacy, education, awareness creation, counselling as well as fundraising, to provide medical assistance among others, for people with the disease.
Mrs Danso said that in 2015, the Foundation through the benevolence of some individuals, donated medicine to a teenage lupus patient, who was reacting to medication that was given to her while on hospital admission.
She, therefore, called on policy makers, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, corporate organisations, religious organisations, the media, and civil society groups to join in the efforts to inspire hope and bring relief to victims.