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People with autoimmune disease require NHIS procedures   
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People suffering from autoimmune disease on Saturday requested government to give clear procedures about how they could benefit from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

At a forum that gave the patients a platform to share their experiences, most of the sufferers said it was difficult getting the right diagnoses early, which also resulted in high medical cost.

Autoimmune diseases are diseases, which causes the antibodies in humans to attack the cells instead of fighting external diseases. Autoimmune diseases usually cause disability in the sufferer.

The forum was organized by Sharecare Ghana, a civil society organization that acts as a support group for people with neuro-immunological diseases in Ghana.

Dr Augustina Charway, a neurologist at the 37 Military Hospital, explained to the patients that the first step to getting the right treatment was for a primary health care giver or a General Practitioner in any hospital to refer patients to a neurologist.

"However, there is very little awareness about autoimmune diseases and sometimes primary health care givers are even not able to identify the disease over a long period of time," she added.

Dr Charway advised people to visit the hospital whenever they felt unexplained numbness or weaknesses in certain parts of their body and mentioned that the actual cause of autoimmune diseases had not been found but some could be heredity.

Some members of Sharecare Ghana also pointed out that the real difficulty for them was how to get the right doctors and the early diagnoses.

They therefore urged government to pay attention to such diseases under the NHIS.

Mr Duut Abdulai, Executive Secretary of the National Council of People with Disability, added his voice to the call for government to pay attention to people with disabilities.

He said when issues of disability are mainstreamed into the development programmes of the country it facilitate development.

Nana Yaa Agyeman, Founder of Sharecare Ghana, said the organization is registering members, who are unable to work with the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme to enable them earn something to support themselves.

The LEAP is a poverty reduction programme by government.

She said the organization would continue to lobby for the National Health Insurance Scheme in Ghana to cover all diseases.

Miss Mimi Areme, Miss Ghana 2009, who also attended the meeting, said she would embark on an educational campaign to encourage the showing of care and love to the disabled.

Miss Ghana has one of her projects to advocate for people suffering from autoimmune diseases.
Source: GNA

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