Homo sapiens blackus a new human species. How must we handle this new species?

It has become abundantly clear to me that black people in America belong to a different subspecies of Homo sapiens! I have grouped them into a subspecies Homo sapiens blackus, and in my case Sub Subspecies Homo sapiens blackus shitus!
How else can anyone explain the spate of calls that are made to cops about blacks for mundane things that all humans undertake in order to exist on this planet! In a previous expose’ I had talked about things that Americans should call the cops on when they see Read More…

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The Bible and Sexuality in Ghana, how does one address the controversies?

A part of the New Testament, John 8:7 actually suggests …..“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.”… This was after an adulterer was accused and brought to Jesus. In 1 Cor 4:5. Luke 6:37, Matthew 7:1 and James 4:11, Romans 2:1, 14:10, 14:13 Christians are advised and instructed NOT TO JUDGE others for it is God who Judges us all. Where am I going with this? WELL….. I am not Gay and I will never be. I know quite some great men who are and they have nevRead More…

General Robert E Lee, did he shape American history or has this country shaped his legacy?

In the past few years there have been many protests and struggles across this country surrounding the fate of several monuments depicting confederate leaders.  One such protest which occurred in the Summer of 2017 was the Unite the Right Protest in Charlottesville, VA. Unfortunately this protest cost 3 lives including that of 32 year old Heather Heyer. One of the organizers of the march Jason Kessler; was quoted to have tweeted a week after the rally that Heyer “was a fat, disgusting CommunisRead More…

Can a person be prejudiced against their own racial group?

Living in the  great multi-cultural society, which is today’s America is an opportunity that I have grown to love and cherish. I love the fact that when I step out on the streets I could be interacting with individuals whose gene pool could easily span the whole global realm known to man. This in itself is a wonderful feeling that makes my American identity very real to me whilst at the same time cherishing my Ghanaian roots. Whilst most of my experiences in America have been mostly positive inRead More…

Oh no!! another wet dream ?

I rarely have dreams! And on the rare occasions that I have dreamt, I barely remember the contents of my dream! I guess I am not prone to hypnopompic and hypnagogic hallucinations! If I were the Martin Luther King of the 1960’s, my speech would be titled ”I don’t have a dream.” And it would go like this ” I don’t have a dream that one day a man shall be judged by the content of his character rather than by the color of his skin. I don’t have a dream I don’t dream I can’t remember my dreaRead More…

Why the oppressed need to keep silent so passive supporters of oppression do not feel uncomfortable.

Whilst boarding school in Ghana for me was mostly fun that was not all that I experienced in Mfantsipim School, one of the oldest schools in Ghana. My first 3 years in boarding school as a junior boy was fraught with many experiences that could well give Tom Brown’s School Days a run for its money. I still remember experiences that border on the verge of exploitation and  abuse. One lesson that I learnt dealing with bullies and other types of abusers in boarding school was that perpetrators andRead More…

Why I now use sign language in public !!

Before I came to America I was made to believe that America was this “melting pot” of people from all over the world. A huge successful experiment where people from all walks of life and continents who value American culture and ethos emigrate to  and become American, whilst at the same time maintaining their unique language and customs and add to the already rich pool of variety that America is known for! That is why I believe we celebrate St Patrick’s Day for the Irish! Mexican IndepenRead More…

Musings of a Ghanaian doctor from the home of the Liberty Bell.

Broad street in Philadelphia is this wide swathe of black, running through the middle of the city. A black big motoring vein with asphalt tributaries emptying cars, and people, milling restlessly with a tenacity that hardly ever changes. The City Hall punctuates it, splitting the broad street flow with its imposing gravity defying white columns hewn out of marble. Intricate sculpted masonry from another time, that remains beautiful in our  glass and steel world. The statue of William Penn loomsRead More…

The war on drugs; who won that war?

I first saw her in my clinic seeking care for HIV but when we first met like most patients with her medical condition she was not an ideal patient. The decision to start her on ART Antiretroviral therapy in those days when the only single tablet regimen was Atripla (Tenofovir/Emtrictabine/Efavirenz) was not an easy one but if there is one thing that I have learnt from taking care of the patients that most physicians may consider as non ideal is to always give people the benefit of the doubt and Read More…

Why STARBUCKS does not need to apologize to African Americans

After more than 2 centuries of slavery progress towards equity and equality has always been challenging for African Americans, progress always seems to be followed by significant periods or retrogression.  This situation can sometimes leave most black people wondering if progress towards racial equality was really worth the effort.
The election of President Trump in-spite of multiple statements made during his campaign which were characterized by many as clearly racist has been cited by many asRead More…

Global elimination of Hepatitis C, is it achievable with current available technology ?

Hepatitis C is a global disease with an estimated prevalence rate of about 2.8% worldwide. There are however significant variations in the prevalence rate by country with most low and middle income countries bearing the bulk of the disease burden. Countries with the highest Hepatitis C prevalence ≥5% include Egypt 4.4-15.0%, Gabon 4.9-11.2%, Uzbekistan 11.3%, Cameroon 4.9-13.8%, Mongolia 9.6-10.8%, Pakistan 6.8%, Nigeria 3.1–8.4%, Georgia 6.7%. Whilst treatment is available for Hepatitis C Read More…

HEALTHY ALCOHOL USE; WHERE SHOULD WE DRAW THE LINE ?

Personally I cannot say when I had my first drink because I believe I was just too young to remember. I believe I must have been three or four years old then because it was definitely before I went to any sort of school.   My grandmother who was very influential in my early life believed that children who are given the opportunity early in life are less likely to have problems with alcohol use in adulthood. I dont know from experience if she was right or wrong on her untested hypothesis of alcRead More…

CHICKEN SOUP FOR COLDS AND FLU SYMPTOMS!! DOES IT REALLY WORK ?

Most of us have heard of the use of chicken soup to cure common cold or flu symptoms, today I decided to do a literature search to determine if there is any evidence supporting this common recommendation.  I can promise you that if chicken soup were produced by a drug company that companies stock will be worth buying considering the frequency at which the recommendation is made as well as the high in incidence of cold and flu-like symptoms in all populations.  I have made this recommendation mRead More…

Where is my gun ? American democracy and the 2nd Amendment

I recently read that America has about 270 – 310 million guns, and with a population estimate of 310 million, that is almost as many guns as for every man, woman and child in this country. That got me thinking and I eventually came to the conclusion that as an adult male who officially became a US citizen about 10 years ago, I have earned myself a gun. Yes, like every male who grew up with movies like Rambo and Terminator both American movies by the way I love guns. Sure you heard me right, I dRead More…

UNSAFE ROADS IN GHANA AND GUNS IN USA, LET’S LEAVE THE SOLUTION IN GOD’S HANDS!!

Gun violence in the USA and road traffic accidents in Ghana share one thing in common both countries have decided to leave their respective problems in the hand of God.  In the past 2 weeks I have been reminded of these two problems by events that brought these age-old problems into the public view.  On February 8th Ebony Reigns also known as Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng a dance hall singer who is well-loved in Ghana died along with her two others traveling with her in a Traffic accident in the AsRead More…

Marijuana Use and The Evolution of Medical Marijuana Laws in the USA, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

The history of cannabis laws in the US has always been a racially charged issue. Most advocates for more relaxed laws on cannabis use believe that common usage of the word Marijuana was an attempt by anti-cannabis advocates to present cannabis as a foreign threat to the American way of life. Anti-drug campaigners quickly branded cannabis as a drug used by “inferior races” i.e. Mexicans and African Americans to create a negative public opinion of the drug. Prior to all these efforts to rebrand caRead More…

AN AFRICAN’S RESPONSE TO TRUMP ERA IMMIGRATION ISSUES

Growing up in Ghana towards the end of the 20th century, Africa to most Americans and “sh*thole” as Trump would say the environment under which we lived was one of that was very much carved by the impact of European imperialist culture.  Most Africans irrespective of religious persuasion have a non-African name which identifies them with a religious group usually a European name for Christians and a Arabic our generally speaking a name with Semitic root for Muslims. Well, does this mean our Read More…

HEALTH EQUITY, IS IT REALLY ACHIEVABLE?

As a student in medical school I have a host of memories that I believe would still remain vivid in my mind for ages. One such image is my experience as a 4th year medical student observing an amputation. The consultant orthopedic surgeon gave us a brief history of the patient. The patient was a 51 yr old local chief who he had seen 2 years ago for a painful swollen leg, initial evaluation suggested that this man had a bone cancer of his leg bones below the knee ( osteosarcoma of the tibia bone)Read More…

PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING, AN ONGOING CONTROVERSY.

Prostate cancer screening always raises a lot of controversy on account various reasons; most notable among these is the nature of the physical exam recommended for screening, digital rectal exam (DRE). On a discussion on digital rectal exam one Ghanaian friend of mine said categorically ” there would be no gay probing of my nether parts”. That reminded me of my first and only death threat from a patient, which I count as fortunate since some colleagues do report worse. As a very eager young phyRead More…

MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr. after 50 years his Dream still lives on

Race has been a defining characteristic in America over the years due to historical elements of American society. In the 1600s European settlers in the New World transitioned a system of slavery and indentured servitude into an economic system that enabled them to provide resources such as sugar and cotton to the Old world. This system helped develop and build America and enriched many white settler families, riches that some still enjoy up to today. The bedrock of this economic system was the ARead More…

Healthy Weight Gain !! Is This An Oxymoron ? By Dr. Leonard Sowah

As an immigrant from Ghana I have the liberty of blaming all my weight gain on the American diet and a lifestyle with less physical activity. Whilst the kinds of foods we eat play a major role in weight gain physical activity may be a bigger culprit. Over the course of 16 years I have been transformed from a 80 kg guy to 100 kg with a very visible extra collection of fat around my waistline. The science on the health impact of excess body fat has gone back and forth but today most scientists in Read More…

How I evolved from a tolerant physician to one with a healthy appreciation of alternate lifestyles, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

As a physician from Ghana brought up in a very religious family, I must admit that when it comes to gay rights and other issues related to sexual minorities I was as far to the right as anyone could be.  My first experience with openly gay individuals was when I came to the United States. Needless to say, gay behavior in Ghana was so stigmatized as to be nonexistent in the public sphere during my time in Ghana.  It does not mean though that gay behavior was absent; it was not considereRead More…

HOW LONG MUST A MAN LAST DURING SEX ?

Today I would be talking about a problem that affects a large proportion of men. This is a condition most men have experienced before and concerns women very much since it affects them very directly. I still remember a patient telling me about his experience with premature ejaculation (PE), he was really concerned because he really did like his current sexual partner. He said “I know my girl will leave me if this continues”.
Most men have experienced this problem at some point in their lives espRead More…

HIV in Ghana Current Status and Potential Challenges to Control, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

My first HIV patient that I cared for was in Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana in the late 1990s. I can still remember the woman in her mid-thirties who we had admitted with symptoms suggestive of meningo-encephalitis; I do not really remember whether I was a house-officer or a final year medical student. I had suggested getting a HIV test on her because I thought it was unusual for a patient with meningitis in her 30s to have delirium early in the disease process. On hindsight this lady Read More…

THE OPIOID CRISIS IN AMERICA TODAY – WHAT MUST WE DO AS A NATION ?

President Trump declared a National Public Health Emergency this week; in his statement from the Whitehouse he was not talking about HIV or Hepatitis C nor was he referring to the increased incidence of gun violence in the country. The President’s statements focused on a very different Public Health problem, he was talking about America’s high incidence of opioid related deaths mostly from overdose. This declaration has been met with various pronouncements including some statements from pRead More…

AMERICA’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH PRESCRIPTION PAIN PILLS

Current reports from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) suggest that the United States is second on the list of countries with the highest per capita consumption of opioids.  Data from 2014 quotes U.S. use of opiates at 700 mg per capita per year. The only country that has a higher per capita use is Canada at 967 mg per capita both in ME (morphine equivalents). This suggests that in 2014 the amount of prescription pain pills consumed in this country was equivalent to providing sevRead More…

WORDS CAN KILL, AND DO KILL – THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE DREAM ACT (DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS)

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin introduced the Dream Act in Congress in 2001 due to a story told him by a music teacher about the life of Tereza Lee a Korean girl whose parents had come to the US from Korea through Brazil. This bill unfortunately fell victim to what happens to all of us; life.  The bill was introduced in August of 2001 and scheduled for a Senate hearing on September 12th, 2001. I do not need to say more on this, the hearing that has been scheduled for Tereza Lee to testify before Read More…

The Struggle for a New America II, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

For those who do not know my heritage I am Ghanaian by birth and moved to the United States about 16 yrs ago. In the US I have never been able to escape being mistaken for a Nigerian, Caribbean American or African American among a whole host of origins and associations. I have no problem with this because I do not believe my heritage defines who or what I am. Our genetic heritage outside of the social associations and restrictions that it may imposes upon us does not define or determine who or wRead More…

Driving While Black: Implicit Racial Bias & the Safety of Motorists, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

I had the opportunity to watch the released dash-cam video of the shooting of Philando Castile by police officer Geronimo Yanez. My reaction was mostly surprise at the composure and calmness of the late Castile and his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and total shock at fear and and panic of the the trained police officer. This one incident, which has been watched many times over the past year, is really sad and frightening to many blacks in this country.
As a black man I have been stopped many timesRead More…

Does Tougher Immigration Policy Improve Community Safety? By Dr. Leonard Sowah

Special Order No. 40; I heard of this policy on one of the podcasts that I listen to, and thought that was really smart thinking so I decided to look into its origins.  After reading about this I gained a lot of respect and admiration for the late Darryl F Gates, Los Angeles Police Chief 1978 – 1992.  While Chief Gates was also known for aggressive policing in LA, he was the one who in the interest of public safety and community collaboration with law enforcement enacted this very important pRead More…

GUNS DON’T KILL, PEOPLE DO !, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

“Guns don’t kill, people do”, the gun lobby has been touting this mantra for years in the United States whilst our numbers on gun violence continues to rise. Studies however show a very strong correlation between gun ownership and gun violence. Currently in the US research on the impact of guns on homicides and suicides is poorly funded since public funding for such research has been limited significantly by legislation driven mainly by lobbies mostly funded by the NRA (National Rifle AssoRead More…

Operation Six-Pack

About three years ago I posted a photo of myself wearing my biking gear on facebook and was aghast with horror when one of my old classmates made a comment on the size of my belly. Well it is three years and that belly is still resisting all my efforts to crash it into a fatty grave. Prior to the time of its appearance my response to any comments on my ever increasing weight was “it is all muscle”.  Well that comment pushed me into facing reality; muscle does not usually give your a paunch.Read More…

Prevention Saves Lives – Meningitis in a Resource Constrained Setting, By Dr. Teddy Totimeh

Four students have died. One after the other over a ten day period. And the diagnosis is only certain now, after they died. In a country with close 5000 doctors, multiple teaching hospitals, a functioning health ministry, and a dedicated national health service, this is not acceptable. This is a country that has had 60 years to build these systems. It is not right. If there was a war going on, it would be excusable. If there was famine, civil unrest, natural disaster… maybe, this would be easyRead More…

The struggle for a new America, By Leonard Sowah

On a flight back home from Seattle, Washington last month I had a conversation with the lady seated next to me about the political situation in America today.  She happens to be white and since I am a black man and happened to live in Baltimore I believe it was only natural that issues related to Black Lives Matter came up in conversation.  She had the impression that the Black Lives Matter Movement was trying to limit access to their struggle by non-blacks.  Before I continue though I must sRead More…

Let’s talk to our elderly patients about their sex lives, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

He was referred to me by a colleague with a large geriatric practice for evaluation and treatment for HIV. He was 76 years old and lived in an assisted living facility. He was, however, very independent and only required limited assistance. When asked what he expected from the visit he responded that he had been sent to me by his PCP (Primary Care Physician).
My review of his records suggested that in addition to HIV and hypertension which was well controlled he also had some kidney disease. AftRead More…

My brother’s keeper – Healthcare in Trump’s America, By Dr. Leonard Sowah

I recently heard a story from a colleague about a patient that he admitted who refused admission for a potentially fatal illness because he was afraid he will be arrested and deported.  This incident happened during the Obama presidency that happened to have deported close to 3 million immigrants during the 8 years in office.  ICE (Immigration and Citizenship Enforcement) reports suggest that the exact number deported in the Obama era was 2,749,706; an average of 343,713 immigrants perRead More…

Difficult conversations – Talking about sex with your doctor

I recently read a book by Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz a UCLA cardiologist who also happens to be a consultant for the Los Angeles Zoo. In her book ‘Zoobiquity’ Dr. Natterson-Horowitz demystified the story of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) transmission from monkeys in West and Central Africa to humans. Most doctors today including me have a very limited knowledge of zoonosis the science surrounding bugs that can be passed from animals to humans and can be totally unaware of the extent Read More…

Why I started blogging

As a physician and teacher I realize that the best way to better healthcare is to educate patients. My blogs while usually appropriate for healthcare personnel is to assist ordinary individuals navigate problems and issues that may have health consequences. I encourage my readers to feel free to send comments, questions and requests to my mailbox from the contact page. I write about public policy issues because I recognise the health impact of some of these policies. I do realise that I may notRead More…