Vodafone Healthline, the flagship corporate social investment project of the telecom giant, has once again played a timeous and critical funding role in the rescue of seven-year-old Charles, who developed a bulging stomach at age two, full of faecal matter, a condition termed Hirschsprung disease.
Just imagine a condition where a person is able to eat regularly but cannot pass stool for two-weeks without a bulb syringe in the anus to induce it. Very uncomfortable, right? This was the story of Charles, which led to his stomach protruding (child with a potbelly) due to faecal matter accumulation.
It is quite a disheartening story to hear that Charles lived with such a condition for about five years because the initial claim from the health facility visited at age two was that he was suffering from kwashiorkor, and when the real condition was later realised, the cost of treatment became another obstacle until Vodafone Healthline heard the story and immediately responded to assist.
In this episode five of season ten, the health line team were at Asokore-Mampong in the Ashanti Region once again, to save a precious life.
Narrating the genesis of the condition, the grandmother indicated that in the Ashanti tradition, when an infant does not pass some stool within a certain period after being born, it is considered an illness, and a traditional remedy is administered accordingly. This was Charles’s situation when he was born, but unfortunately, that remedy did not solve his situation.
At age two to three, his stomach started to bulge out and traditional remedies were sought, but all proved futile. When professional health solutions were sought at Efigyaase hospital, the nurses suspected the situation to be kwashiorkor, but the parents were still confused because even for two weeks, the boy would not pass stool unless induced with a bulb syringe the traditional way.
It took the intervention of Eva Adjewaa Acheampong, a community nurse on her normal routine community patrols, to come into contact with the boy and decided to ensure proper diagnosis of the condition.
She then assisted the family to take him to hospital where it was discovered that he had developed Hirschsprung disease and so he was referred to KATH for surgical operation. At this stake it became a financial challenge until one of the doctors contacted Vodafone Healthline and they came to the rescue of Charles through the appropriate procedures.
It was all joy for both the community nurse, the grandparents and siblings of Charles when Vodafone paid for the surgery and full treatment of the boy for him to be able to pass stool regularly without any inducement.
In this episode, Dr. Isaac Adomako, Physician Specialist, tackled vaccines and the essence of immunisation. He explained that just as Ghana has soldiers who guard our bodies against external intruders, so too are vaccines injected into the body as artificial antibodies sent to activate natural antibodies to fight infections.
Zooming into COVID-19 vaccination, he indicated that the natural antibodies have not been tested to prove their strength against the virus, which is why the artificial ones (COVID-19 vaccines) have been introduced to fight the virus.
He concluded that with the COVID-19 vaccines, technology helped to skip some of the steps in the process, ensuring efficiency, safety, and efficacy were achieved, hence making them safe for human use, urging everyone to go in for the vaccine.
In the myth-buster segment, the topic of ‘slim people being malnourished’ was discussed. Dr. Kwekuma Yalley, General Practitioner, indicated that there are a lot of misconceptions in the myth because being malnourished does not necessarily mean under-nutrition or poor nutrition, but rather obese people are malnourished.
He linked this myth to cultural beliefs where people think those who eat well look plumper and nicer than the poor, especially during the days of farming and hunger (1983).
Cardiologist Dr. Aba Folson stated that a person’s physical stature is determined by many factors, and genetics plays an important role. In addition, when one’s parents are small in size, the child is likely to be small as well, and vice versa.
“A lot of fat people are rather malnourished due to poor lifestyle and eating habits. Malnourishment has nothing to do with slimness and the assertion that it is also a result of their inability to eat more is false because most eat more than fat people. Interestingly, slim people tend to have a higher metabolic rate and hence can eat more,” she said.
In conclusion, the in-house doctors called for sensitisation and education against the perception that putting on weight means health and living well.