Ghana has joined the global community to commemorate the World Lupus Day (WLD) on the theme: “Let’s Join Together and Fight Lupus.”
The World Lupus Day emphasised on the need for education, special care and emotional support for millions of people living with lupus.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which 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 Emma Danso, the Executive Director of Oyemam Autoimmune Foundation (OYEMAM) in an interview with Ghana News Agency to commemorate the Day, which falls on May 10, said the theme was very instructive for Ghana as a Nation.
The Day also served to rally Lupus Organisations and people affected by the disease around the world for common purpose of bringing greater attention and resources to end the suffering caused by this disabling and potentially fatal autoimmune disease.
She said there was war within their bodies daily because their immune systems were not at peace.
“We are overwhelmed by the debilitating impact of lupus on the quality of our lives and our caregivers are also burning out from support fatigue,” she added.
She said the psychological impact of lupus could be as devastating as its physical complications, which affects at least five million people worldwide.
The Executive Director said the latest information from the World Lupus Federation indicated that people with lupus felt the disease greatly affecting their emotional and mental well-being.
She said the day was observed to educate the public, media and policymakers about the physical, economic, emotional and social impact of lupus around the world.
Mrs. Danso, who is herself a patient, said knowledge was key in fighting lupus and encouraged Ghanaians to learn all they could about lupus to help improve lives of those affected as well as help reduce the diagnosis time for patients.
She said according to the World Lupus Federation, many physicians worldwide are unaware of symptoms and health effects of lupus, causing people with lupus to suffer for many years before they obtain a correct diagnosis and medical treatment.
Mrs. Danso called on government, corporate organizations, religious bodies and the public to support advocacy and awareness initiatives to bring greater attention, resources and support to individuals and families affected by Lupus.
She urged government through the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and other related stakeholders to give attention to the establishment of Lupus clinics in the major teaching hospitals in Ghana.
She also called for the establishment of a national autoimmune commission to address the challenges of lupus and other autoimmune patients.
She said OYEMAM, is a member of the World Lupus Federation and was focused on raising awareness about lupus, raising support for people affected by Lupus, advocating better access to healthcare and policies that would allow lupus patient to live normal lives in the country.
In 2017, the Ministry of Health on behalf of the government acknowledged Lupus as a significant public health concern and ratified a proclamation for the observance of World Lupus Day on May 10 annually.
The 2019 celebration marks Ghana’s third year of observance of World Lupus Day.
Source: News Ghana