CAPE COAST, GHANA
In Ghana, about four million people are affected by diabetes mellitus, a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar. Diabetes is one of the most pervasive killer diseases in the world. It is the fourth most common cause of death in most developed countries and every 30 seconds claims someone’s lower limb, according to reports from the International Diabetes Federation. Ghana has seen a dramatic increase in the number of high-school-age young people developing this condition. Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, national chairman of the Ghana National Diabetes Association, said, “The disease formerly thought of as a disease of the elderly and the wealthy members of the population is now the bane of the poorest of the poor and is creeping into the adolescent age group—thus the need to protect the youth, which is our future.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through LDS Charities, is collaborating with the Ghana National Diabetes Association to screen students in six senior high schools in the Cape Coast area, encompassing about 13,000 students. The project, which was an initiative of the Ghana National Diabetes Association, is geared toward getting students screened for the disease and encouraging them to seek early counseling and treatment. The project is titled “Life for a Child Program.”
A program officially launching the project was held June 12, 2015, at Aggrey Memorial Secondary School. Screening teams of nurses from the Cape Coast area Ministry of Health trained volunteers from the Cape Coast Ghana Stake. These Church volunteers helped screen a total of 2,306 students, with 16 students testing positive. These 16 students, with permission from their parents, will receive psychological counseling and treatment from the project.
At the launch program, Matilda Amissah-Author, the second lady of the Republic of Ghana, thanked The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who, she said, are proving to be servants of the Savior Jesus Christ by supporting health issues. She asked the students not to hide behind their youthfulness and energy and avoid being screened, but instead to take advantage of the screening to know their status and to take advantage of the “Life for a Child Program” in order to receive counseling and support. She said that early detection will provide better protection. She also observed that students were highly prone to the disease because they eat all sorts of fatty and sugary foods, which are major causes of the disease.
Also taking part in the launch program was Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., president of the Africa West Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He shared with those in attendance the vast number of Church members in the Africa West Area and thanked those participating in this worthy cause. In addition, he spoke on the many facets of LDS Charities, including Wheelchairs, Vision Care, Maternal and Newborn Care, Clean Water, and other community projects.