Sharecare with Ridge Church youth

Members of Sharecare Ghana today joined the youth service at Accra Ridge Church to talk about autoimmune and neurological conditions and how people can make a difference to the lives of persons with disabilities through sensitive behaviour and attitude.

The theme of the youth for the year was “Do you know God?” and Sharecare’s ‘take’ was to see God’s hand in every situation and use it positively (or to the best of your ability).

Thank you Ridge youth for inviting us and for your donation.

Thank you also to students of Trinity College who invited us to address them last month and gave us a donation.

God bless you all

Autoimmune conditions on the rise in Ghana; NMIMR, Sharecare explore

The Accra Mail, Thursday 8th December, 2011

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), in collaboration with physicians at the Department of Internal Medicine, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Sharecare Ghana, is carrying out a research into autoimmune disease conditions.

The research, which is at the instance of Sharecare Ghana, a registered NGO and support group for people with rare immuno-neurological conditions that include autoimmune diseases and diseases of the central nervous system, is being pre-financed by Ghana Commercial Bank and ProvidentLife Assurance Company Limited.

The main aim of the study is to document the experiences of diagnosed autoimmune disease sufferers and their physicians to better understand the occurrence and management of autoimmune disease conditions. It will involve in-depth key informant interviews with patients and physicians involved in their care and treatment. In all a minimum of 40 patients and 10 physicians are envisaged to be included in the study.

It would be recalled that Sharecare Ghana in 2007 approached the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research with an enquiry as to whether the Institute was involved in research into why autoimmune conditions and diseases of the central nervous system are on the increase and whether it will consider carrying out such a research, if the Institute had not carried out any such research. A special interest was expressed in the role of nutrition and diet and their effect on these conditions. Though autoimmune diseases research was not one of the institute’s research areas at the time, there was sufficient interest to warrant a consideration of this patient-led initiative

Autoimmune diseases (ADs) represent a heterogeneous family of chronic, disabling diseases with varying natural histories and a wide range of clinical symptoms. ADs share underlying defects in the immune response resulting in the body attacking its own organs, tissues and cells thus causing serious damage in the process. Predisposing or risk factors associated with the onset and progression of AD include heredity, certain environmental agents including metals, chemicals (drugs, pesticides etc.) dietary elements and microbiological agents. More than 80 individual ADs have been identified with about 75% of those affected being women.

ADs have hitherto been thought to be rare diseases among Africans but indications are that their incidence is now increasing and may soon pose a significant public health problem. In Ghana, significant numbers of ADs are now being diagnosed but unfortunately there is very little documented evidence on the situation.

It is hoped that the study will generate information that will help identify ADs that are of public- health priority in Ghana in terms of prevalence.