16th July 2024

On July 23, 2021, I paid a visit to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, popularly referred to as Ridge Hospital. It was my first time entering the premises of the hospital, even though I use that route every time I go to school. A lot has been said about the hospital, both cost and the edifice itself, but my interest is not in any of that, but a centre at the facility.

I find myself among the few who allow something to engage my interest to the extent of sharing with others. I was part of the many Ghanaians who didn’t know there is a centre at Ridge called the Bone Marrow Transplant Centre. But after being given an exclusive tour by the mastermind and Chief Executive Officer of BMT Ghana, Dr John Logah, I have this sense of duty to educate people on this ultra-modern fully equipped centre, and what they do, especially for persons living with Sickle Cell Disease.

BMT centre

Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) centre was set up by the BMT Foundation Ghana. The Foundation is an autonomous organisation that provides support and cure for various blood disorders, especially sickle cell. The centre does not only provide cure for sickle cell through the bone marrow transplant, but offers counselling and free advice on the bone marrow and stem transplant. The Foundation and centre recently added to their specification a blood exchange transfusion which is one of the many things I find encouraging, refreshing and a breakthrough for all persons living with sickle cell disease after being educated about it.

Blood exchange transfusion

Blood exchange transfusion is done to help and aid in sickle cell management.  Now, the therapy is done by taking out all the blood of the patient and filtered to take out the unhealthy sickle cell from the healthy blood cells. Then healthy blood cells are transfused back into the person together with a donor blood which has healthy blood cells and is compatible with the patient. This procedure is done with an automated machine which helps in exchange transfusion, and it is done simultaneously, meaning while the patient’s blood is being filtered by the automatic machine, the donor’s blood is being transfused so the patient wouldn’t lose any blood. This special automated machine is called the Spectra Optia Apheresis system or machine.

Sickle cell anaemia

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that causes red blood cells to become misshapen and break down.  The normal red blood cells are shaped like a disc to allow free movement through the vessels. However, with sickle cell, the red blood cells are shaped like sickle or half-moon which easily sticks in the vessel and cause unbearable pains, popularly known as crisis.

Let’s support

Growing up, I have heard about sickle cell disease and had first-hand experience of the disease and every tiny feeling of it. After the tour and the amazing hospitability of Dr John Logah, I felt a sudden relief and hope for persons living with sickle cell disease, for this Foundation is a breakthrough for the hopeless.

I cannot basically end without asking our able and well-to-do individuals and organisations to consider extending a help hand to the Foundation to help cut down the cost in these treatments and therapy of the sickle cell patient.

The writer is a student of Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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