Statistically, one in every 100 births results in a child having a heart or chest condition. Smoking, excessive drinking, long exposure to X-rays, and poor eating habits by pregnant women are some of the causes of heart and chest conditions in children.
The taking of drugs without prescription and the failure of some expectant mothers to attend antenatal care are also causes.
On average, heart surgery in Ghana costs between $6,000 and $13,000. With the cost of heart surgery out of reach for most Ghanaians, many patients are left to wait for the benevolence of individuals and organizations, and in some cases, die before care arrives.
For this reason, the Fifty 50 Club, an Obuasi-based non-profit association made up of employees of AngloGold Ashanti and its subsidiaries, as well as employees of other corporate organizations across the country and abroad, has donated a total of $25,000 to a 2-year-old child with a hole in the heart, a 42-year-old man diagnosed with severe mitral valve regurgitation, a 9-year-old girl diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer), and a sickle cell patient.
Founded in 2020, the Fifty 50 Club has 245 members who make monthly contributions in support of the club’s objectives.
Blessing Ama Woode Kwamba, a 2-year-old girl from Obuasi, was diagnosed with ventricular septal defect (VSD, or hole in the heart) at the National Cardiothoracic Center, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. She was given $10,000 towards a procedure/surgery to correct the defect.
James Danquah, a 42-year-old man from Obuasi, was diagnosed with an acquired heart disease called severe mitral valve regurgitation at the University of Ghana Medical Center. The condition was seriously affecting his health and required an open-heart surgery to replace the diseased valve with a mechanical prosthetic valve.
Mr. Danquah was given $10,000 by the club towards the cost of his surgery.
Nine-year-old Federica Owusu Yeboah, on the other hand, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer) at the AGA Health Foundation in 2022. She was referred to KATH in April 2022, where cycles of treatment began on May 5, 2022, and ended on May 27, 2023. After her treatment, it was important to know if she had been completely cured of the cancer. As a result, she had to undergo a CT scan of her neck and chest, which cost $3,440. This was an amount that Federica’s family could no longer afford due to the previous expenses incurred on her treatment.
The foundation came to her aid with $3,500 to pay for the cost of the CT scan.
Meanwhile, Frederick Agyeman Duah, a 6-year-old with sickle cell disorder, which makes him more susceptible to infections, low blood levels, bone and joint pain, was supported with $1,000.
The president and founder of the club, Jacob Edmund-Acquah, praised the members of the club for their generous contributions towards the club’s objectives. He is optimistic that the donations will go a long way in alleviating the plight of the beneficiaries.
He appealed to the government to establish a national program that will help in the early detection of health-related diseases. “If some of these health-related diseases are diagnosed earlier, I believe some deaths could be prevented.”
He also appealed to corporate institutions and individuals to consider joining the club or making a donation to the club to support its activities.
Dr. Kwadwo Anim, the executive director of the AGA Health Foundation, praised the Fifty 50 Club for the donation, which he described as a swift intervention to help the beneficiaries undergo treatment.
He said that the socio-economic background of the beneficiaries’ families in Ghana has made the fight against these conditions an uphill battle.
“The socio-economic background of the beneficiaries makes it difficult for patients to receive the right treatment in a timely manner. As a result, some of them live with the conditions for a longer period of time, resulting in them seeking advanced solutions to their problems.”
He said that while there have been advances in technology for the treatment of heart conditions, financing them has always been a challenge. He called on individuals and organizations to follow the example of the Fifty 50 Club and donate towards the treatment of such diseases.