Johnson & Johnson Creates Awareness on ADHD Among School Children
Pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson has rolled out series of outreach in schools in Accra aimed at creating awareness on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which seems largely ignored by many.
At one of the beneficiary schools, Ridge Church School, Dr Marilyn Marbell, a Medical Director of Missions Paediatrics, enlightened teachers about the disorder and how they could be managed to bring out their full potentials.
She explained that ADHD makes a child to lose his/her ability to pay attention and also makes them hyperactive.
Children suffering from the condition become impulsive and act without thinking out their intentions.
The education was part of Johnson and Johnson Ghana Corporate Social Responsibility of ensuring that the knowledge gap on the condition of ADHD was bridged for every child to achieve their full potential.
She said persistence of the symptoms – inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity in a child, causing problem at home and in school could mean that he/she is suffering from ADHD, adding that, it is prevalent in male children.
This condition, Dr Marbell said, is easily diagnosed with children between the ages of one to 12 years, and that 7 out of every 100 children had ADHD but added that, a research conducted in Kumasi revealed that 1-5 out of every 100 children suffers the condition.
She noted that the disorder could be inherited through drinking alcohol or smoking during pregnancy, and after birth brain injury, Streptococcal infections.
She said it was important to diagnose and pay attention to children with such a condition as it had the potential to distract the child’s academic life, preventing them from achieving their full potentials.
“It can even lead to depression in some of these children,” she said, adding that, it was important to diagnose the condition earlier for remedies.
She indicated that if the condition is identified in a child earlier, it would help to prevent its related consequences such as school dropout, anxiety, becoming anti-social, which becomes a challenge to society.
Dr Marbell said the condition could be managed through behaviour therapy and medication, and that there was no cure for ADHD.
She however, added that 40 per cent of children with such condition would be well by the time they become adults if they are diagnosed and managed earlier in life.
She urged them to have special attention for pupils with the disorder and teach them management skills to help them make better decisions in life since they had challenges with attention.
She said it was important that government and other benevolent organisations joined the awareness creation on the condition to secure the future of the country’s economic outlook.
Most of the teachers present at the sensitisation programme said they had not heard anything about the condition but had been noticing symptoms of the ADHD.
Rev Laud Gyampoh, a French Tutor and the Chaplain of the School in an interview said, there had been some few children with such conditions in the school, and the challenge he faced with one child among those they were preparing for Basic Education Certification Examination was regarded as disobedience on the side of the child, “little did we know that it was a disorder”.
He commended Johnson and Johnson for the initiative to create awareness on the subject, which was critical to the transformation and sustainability of the child, saying, the awareness was going to help in handling the pupils well.
Dr Fafa Addo Boateng, the Medical Affairs Manager for Johnson and Johnson Ghana said the company undertook the disease awareness programme to build the capacity of teachers, to help them identify signs and symptoms of ADHD in children who possibly have the disorder and support them to achieve their full potential.
She said Johnson and Johnson as the world’s number one healthcare company, has mental health as one of its key priority therapeutic areas. She added that the ongoing disease awareness project started in 2016 and some schools and teachers in Accra and Kumasi have benefitted from these sessions.