On Monday, May 22, Ghana joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s International Day of Pre-Eclampsia.
Pre-Eclampsia is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy as a result of high blood pressure and a significant amount of protein.
This was the first time Ghana and indeed Africa, took part in observing the day and to think that a disorder that affects women, both the first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the second lady, Samira Bawumia, were not at the event, leaves much to be desired.
The former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, who had earlier agreed to give the keynote address, also could not find time to make it.
Since we ushered in the Fourth republican dispensation, successive first ladies, have made issues concerning women their priority. They have at various times, formed Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to promote the welfare of women.
So it came to us as a surprise that a condition that is one of the leading causes of maternal and infant death in the world and was for the first time observed in Ghana, did not get the input and involvement of any of our present and past first and second ladies.
The dangerous aspect of this disorder is that, it is relatively unknown in this country. A survey conducted by the Centre for Constitutional Order (CENCORD), revealed that out of 500 women interviewed in Accra, the capital city between the ages of 20 to 35, only two percent said they have heard of the disease and read about it, five percent said they have heard the name, but didn’t know what it meant, while a staggering 93 percent said they know nothing about it.
As a country we need to educate, inform, and advise the population, especially pregnant women and health professionals, about the prevalence, nature and risks to create greater awareness and action to improve methods of early education and treatment.
More on Pre-eclampsia (PE)
Pre – eclampsia (PE) is a disorder of pregnancy characterized by the onset of high blood pressure and often a significant amount of protein in the urine. The condition begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy. In severe disease there may be red blood cell breakdown, a low blood platelet count, impaired liver function, kidney dysfunction, swelling, shortness of breath due to fluid in the lungs, or visual disturbances. Pre-eclampsia increases the risk of poor outcomes for both the mother and the baby. If left untreated, it may result in seizures at which point it is known as eclampsia.