Heralding Education in Autoimmune Rheumatic Disorders (HEARD) Campaign and “RheumChat” Project.
The “RheumChat” project is a toll-free telemedicine short code service (*844*555*3#) that will help screen for persons suffering from autoimmune rheumatic conditions in all parts of the country and improve their access to care by directing them to the nearest partner health centre, while the HEARD campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about Autoimmune Rheumatic Disorders in Ghana using simple animation videos and other materials in English, French and selected local languages such as Twi, Ga, Ewe and Dagbani.
The aim of these projects, according to Dr. Dzifa Dey, Director of tRi and one of only two consultant rheumatologists at the Korle – Bu Teaching Hospital in her welcome address, is to hopefully draw out more individuals who are silently suffering from this condition and to create awareness to the public about autoimmune rheumatic conditions in an easily accessible, convenient and fast manner using the little capacity the organization has and building on it.
Also, according to her, there is a lack of rheumatologists worldwide with Ghana having only 3 for a population of 30 million. There are few dedicated clinics, lack of manpower to provide even the basic care. Poor knowledge and disease recognition among medical personnel, lack of awareness among the public, unavailability of diagnostic facilities and essential drugs that will help manage these patients. This leads to shockingly high reported early death rates in Africa between 34 to 49% in some diseases within 5 years.
The launch of this project which was held virtually via the zoom platform on the 31st of August was attended by Dr. Baffour Awuah, Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah, CEO of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Naa Adorkor Sodzi-Tettey representing the Medical Women’s Association, Apostle Lyanne Koffi, a member of the board of tRi Ghana and representatives from healthcare centres, pharmacies and health-related NGOs.
We can if we tRi together.
Let’s make Autoimmune conditions HEARD.
Let’s tRi to HOPE