Obuasi based Non- Governmental Organisation has partnered with some health professionals to offer free reconstructive surgery to over 100 people drawn from various parts of the country.
The free reconstructive surgery, which will be on Cleft lip, Palate, Post burn contractures, Hernia, Fused Fingers and toes, Goiter, Tumors and swellings will take place in September.
Speaking at a program to screen people to ascertain those whose ailments are qualified for surgery, the Executive Director for Galaxy Foundation David Hagan said the purpose of the screening exercise is to outdoor people with various forms of physical deformities and offer free plastic surgeries to them.
He said the Galaxy foundation has over the years offered free plastic surgeries to over 300 people.
“Through our NGO, we have provided free plastic surgeries to about 390 people from diverse backgrounds. Most of the cases were burns, tumors, hypertrophic mess cracks contractions, joints deformities contractions, conjugal deformities, and multiple fingers and toes”.
He said plans are afoot for the NGO to set up a Center for Deformity correction which will specialise in providing free plastic surgeries to the poor and needy living with various forms of physical deformities.
Mr. Hagan said the cost of plastic surgeries in Ghana has made it difficult for the NGO to offer services to many people. He emphasized that the cost of conducting a plastic surgeries hover around Gh12,000.
“The cost of having a plastic surgery in Ghana has been a challenge to correct these kinds of deformities hence we at Galaxy foundation has taken it upon ourselves to help. We call on Government to also support us in our quest to offer free surgeries to people ”
Dealing with Stigma
Isaac Preko, a shoemaker who has been living with facial deformity for close to 20 years shared his experience with the media.
He said he has had to deal with constant stigmatization from people a situation he said nearly forced him to commit suicide.
“I have faced stigmatization from people due to my condition. Children begin to run away when they see me. At a point, I contemplated committing suicide to end everything”.
Mr. Preko said he had struggled to find a job as a result of his looks making it difficult to make ends meet. He said employers turn him down any time he apply for jobs with the excuse that his looks will ward off customers away.
He lauded the Galaxy Foundation for pledging to correct his facial deformity. He was hopeful that when done, this will bring back his confidence to live a normal life.
“All hands on deck approach needed”
A plastic surgeon at the Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Dr. Emile Tannor in an interview said there was then need for all stakeholders to get involved in helping to correct all forms of physical deformities.
He said Government cannot shoulder all the burden but there was the need for other groups and individuals to also get involved.
“Government cannot do it all alone. Just like Galaxy Foundation, other well-meaning Ghanaians should also get onboard and assist in conducting these kinds of surgeries free for people who cannot afford them”.
He bemoaned the rate at which people with some forms of facial deformities are often stigmatised stating that most of the cases are not hereditary and can be cured.
The Galaxy Foundation has slated the first week of September to conduct surgeries for the selected 100 people.