Social Distancing and Abortion Ban in the Time of Covid-19, Dr. Leonard Sowah

Social distancing & Abortion Restrictions With roll out of social distancing rules across the country some states are facing problems likely created by anti-reproductive choice activists. This problem is driving a wedge across State legislatures. The situation is driving some socially liberal legislators to the point of madness and doctors claim some women to desperation. The question at hand is whether abortion should be considered an essential procedure. States like Oklahoma, Alabama,Read More…

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Common Atypical Presentations of Covid-19, By Nana Dadzie Ghansah

As COVID-19 broke out, several of the authoritative bodies like the WHO and the CDC as well as clinicians from China listed three common presenting symptoms: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.However, as the disease has continued to spread worldwide, reports are rampant of atypical presentations. Diarrhea seems one of the more common atypical presenting signs. Guan in their paper in the NEJM that looked at 1009 Chinese patients found an incidence of 3.8%. In a paper to be published soon,Read More…

Covid-19 Response in Accra, Ghana: The Perspective of a Citizen and Physician, By Dr. Teddy Totimeh

Lock down begins. I thought, going to work that I would see a ghost town. I did not. The traffic has definitely reduced, but there are still people on the streets. The shops are closed, or closing. The police stops are increasing. The first day, I was underwhelmed. I did not meet a single policeman on my way to work. Today, I was stopped more times. The grip is tightening slowly, but maybe not fast enough. I met a police woman this morning who did not have a mask on when she stopped me. I waRead More…

Summary of Updated data from the French Chloroquine/Azithromycin Study for Covid-19, Summarized by Nana Dadzie Ghansah

The French group in Marseille whose small study really got the ball rolling on using hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat COVID-19 released data on 80 more patients. Six of those were from the first cohort of 20 patients. Important findings: The study is really an observational one and not a randomized controlled trial. The aims of the study were threefold – if aggressive treatment with the combo of drugs could reduce the need for oxygen therapy of transfer to the ICU, if treatRead More…

Covid-19 Pandemic in Africa, The Facts, Myths and The Unknowns, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

There have been multiple Coronavirus outbreaks in the pasts, SARS-CoV-1 was first reported in Asia in February 2003, though cases subsequently were tracked to late 2002. This virus quickly spread to about 26 countries mostly in the Far East and Toronto, Canada before being contained after about four months. Epidemiologists localized its source to Guangdong Province in China where it was believed to have originated from bats. Another coronavirus MERS-CoV was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 201Read More…

Unforgettable Lessons from the Frontlines in Healthcare? By Dr. Leonard Sowah

There are certain lessons in life that are difficult to forget. Unfortunately, some of these lessons are very costly, and in the medical field the costs is usually counted in human lives. I still remember this day like it was yesterday. The lone house officer on the medical floor on a Saturday morning after a call in Accra, Ghana. We had a lot of admissions and the ward was completely full. Rounding for me in those days was an ordeal that could be likened to an obstacle course with patient pRead More…

How Would Posterity Grade Us on our Handling of COVID-19, By Nana Dadzie Ghansah

There are subjects you study in med school that are meant as instruments of torture. One of these is “Embryology” – the study of how the fetus forms from the fusion of the female egg and the male sperm and how all the organs develop and end up at their final spots. I bet you didn’t know that the heart started off as a tube! With that intro, let’s go back in time to 1989…back to the University of Leipzig. It was one night in the winter, the night before an all-important embryology exaRead More…

Global Health & Pandemic Preparedness: A Key Piece of American Diplomacy, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

When it comes to infectious diseases national boundaries have never been a useful means of control. This is one very important reason why the World Health Organization (WHO) is so important. There is another organization that has done so much to support the WHO called the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is virtually an Agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services but is recognized globally in its role in Pandemic Mitigation and Control. Before I got some Read More…

COVID-19 ON OUR MINDS: PERSONAL ADVICE FOR EVERYONE, BY NANA DADZIE GHANSAH

Surely the COVID-19 pandemic is on a lot of minds lately. The news from places like Northern Italy and Washington State are worrisome but there are examples of other communities that have stood up to it. If we all do the little things that matter, I believe we can help make our respective communities one of those with low mortalities and great outcomes. Now, to the matter at hand: A few things that make COVID-19 special:It is a novel virus so there is no immunity against it out there. Even a fRead More…

RNA VIRUSES & HUMAN SPILLOVER INFECTIONS, BY NANA DADZIE GHANSAH

Note: this is a really basic discussion of a very complex and still-evolving topic. The genetic information that codes for traits in all living organisms are found in DNA or RNA or a combination of the two. Even viruses, not really seen as living organisms, have genetic material. They either code them in RNA (RNA viruses) eg. Influenza or DNA (DNA viruses) eg. Herpes.Where DNA viruses are quite big, RNA ones are much smaller. Also, RNA viruses replicate (multiply) way more than DNA virusRead More…

A Tribute to Mr. Rudolf Darko, Are We Witnessing The Passing of an Era, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

I have a lot of memories of medical school, some pleasant and some that I would rather not remember. Most of these memories are associated with faculty who have had some impact or other on my time in training. After all what is the purpose of medical school and residency but a highly structured apprenticeship program, and what good is an apprentice who fails to take a piece of the master with them.
I know very well that most of my colleagues who have all gone on into different fields of medicineRead More…

On the HPV Vaccine Debate; What I Learned About Sexual Risk from a Colleague in Medical School, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

Anytime I hear any debate on the HPV vaccine Gardasil, I remember a fact that most of us tend to forget.  This simple piece of common sense was brought to my attention by a classmate in a class on sexual risk and cervical cancer. I can still hear his voice ringing in my ears; “Sowee; de ting ino bi how many people the chick sleep with, sometimes all you need is one bad dick” He went on to explain this with an analogy using cars, he compared 50,000 miles on the German Autobahn to Read More…

Addressing the Risk of Anal Cancer in Baltimore City, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

On the first approach by our division chief to work on a project to develop an anal cancer screening program I must admit I was a skeptic. Like most physicians I believed high resolution anoscopies were not really supported by any good evidence and did not support the need for the procedure. Over the course of several months however a close evaluation of the medical literature left me with more questions than answers.
In 2014 as it is now there was no clear evidence supporting the benefit of anaRead More…

The Ambulance Conundrum in Ghana, Commissioning or Deployment; Which is More Important? By Dr. Teddy Totimeh

I passed by those ambulances on a daily basis. Lined up in neat rows on the parking lots of power. The controversy swirled around them. The need beckoned. The death data swelled. And still they sat, waiting for the word to be given. The dust accumulated. The rust must have started already, the salt breeze wafting off the coast just miles away.
So a few weeks ago, I was in traffic, trying to make my way across lanes without being hit by a motorbike, when I heard the siren. There was an ambulance Read More…

The Benefits of Boarding Schools in Ghana from the point of view of a Current Student, By Jacob Nii Adjetey

I deem it a great privilege to have the opportunity to express my opinion on the boarding system of education. Though the boarding system has its own demerits, its advantages convince me to opt for it rather than the day system.
To set the ball rolling is national integration, an indispensable factor in human development. As youthful as our population is, the hope of the nation thriving, depends greatly on us. Fortunately, the boarding system, among its numerous benefits, binds us together as a Read More…

When we Encroach, By Nana Dadzie Ghansah

He is seen as the first patient who got sick but some researchers believe the virus had already started raging earlier than that December 1st when he was admitted to a hospital in Wuhan, China with pneumonia. By December 10, there were 3 more patients and by the end of the month, there were 40 cases.
Soon the world would hear of a virus that was making people sick in Wuhan, China and was going to spread even beyond China.
Initial work by Chinese virologist soon showed what the causative agent waRead More…

Sleeping Rough in America Today, By Leonard Sowah

In my early days as a physician in Baltimore city I worked briefly with Healthcare for the Homeless and had many patients who were homeless. One thing that I learned was that the homeless in America have many varied life experiences beyond the common belief that mental illness and substance abuse are the most common causes of homelessness.
I still remember the mother of three who worked daily and lived at The House of Ruth a local shelter for women. Then there were a few who were chronically homRead More…

Preventing cervical cancer in Ghana: Education should be geared towards solving problems of the society, By Dr. Kofi Effah 

January is being celebrated in Ghana as cervical cancer awareness month. This is laudable considering the fact that cervical cancer, a very preventable disease, kills many Ghanaian women. It is great to create awareness about cervical cancer leading to action (lifestyle modifications, vaccination, screening and treatment of precancerous lesions of the cervix) to prevent cervical cancer. Unfortunately, many times, people will forget about cervical cancer till we are in January when this is brougRead More…

How Do We Get Together to Conquer Our Problems?, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

In the US and across the world things can appear very chaotic nowadays and many have expressed concern over the nature of the divisive political rhetoric in Washington. The initiation of impeachment proceedings against the Trump Administration has not helped this situation in any manner and only served to rev things up a few notches.
The question on the minds of most people is how long the dysfunction in our political climate can last without any adverse impact on our long-term economic and sociRead More…

Mass Incarceration and Prison Gerrymandering, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

In the last 2 decades most new jail and prison developments in the US a country with one of the highest prison populations in the world are in rural and suburban districts. Data reported by the London Institute of Criminal Policy Research reports our incarceration rate as 655 per 100,000 the highest rate in the world similar to countries like El Salvador, Thailand and Turkmenistan at 618, 553 and 552 per 100,000 persons respectively. When considering how many of our citizens we keep locked up, oRead More…

The Ravages of Addiction, By Nana Dadzie Ghansah

They are not hard to miss. There is just a look about them – haggard and emaciated. Besides, they carry the stigmata of their affliction like badges.
Their hair is often stringy and unkempt. Their faces bear marks of acne, scratches, cuts… The eyes are sunken into the sockets like there is nothing to hold them in place.
When they open their mouths, the dentition is always a dead giveaway. Terrible! The teeth are broken, carious, missing or loose.
Their lips are often parched and look whitish aRead More…

Should We Be Doing Virginity Checks?

I spent all of Friday making the video below after hearing rapper T.I. say he had accompanied his daughter now 18 years on each birthday to a gynecologist to check if she is still a virgin. I have heard so much ignorant comments on this subject that I had to make this 6 minute long video to dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding the hymen as well as the dangers virginity checks have on women everywhere in the world. For those who don’t have time to watch it, here are the main points: Read More…

Can we allow women to control their own bodies? By Dr. Leonard Sowah

The examination room gets cleaned at least 3 times a day however the ever pungent smell of blood appears to defy all the efforts of our ever zealous cleaning staff. The smell was strong and overpowering. Even as I entered the curtained area of the room which afforded some privacy for our clients I could tell there was something different about this lady’s condition. This was not the run of the mill incomplete and threatened abortions that flood our emergency room all day long.
The malodorous aroRead More…

Sex for Grades Controversy in Two Major Universities in West Africa, Recommendations for University of Ghana, By Emefa Gadze

A BBC report on sexual harassment and some blatant trading of sex for grades has raised a lot of concern within different levels of communities in Ghana and Nigeria. A Nigerian professor and pastor has been suspended from his church and university on this issue. In Ghana a lecturer of the University of Ghana cited in this report also faces suspension.
Whilst this has only been reported in University of Ghana and University of Lagos when these things happen we must as a society accept full responRead More…

How Worried Should We Be About Bernie’s Heart Attack? By Dr. Leonard Sowah

The Senator from Vermont and Democratic Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders had a heart attack whilst on the Campaign trail. Such events in US Presidential campaigns are usually very major issues however fortunately or unfortunately Bernie’s heart attack was relegated to back pages of the political news on account of issues related to Trump’s impeachment inquiry.
Sander’s ended up in a hospital in Nevada and spent two days in hospital getting out on Friday, October 4th 2019. On his discharge BerRead More…