dr.ameyawDate of birth: 17th June, 1971

Place of birth: Jema, B/A

Schools attended: Jema Local Authority Primary and Middle School, Tamale Secondary School, Opoku Ware School, School of Medical Sciences, UST, Kumasi.

Post graduate institutions: West African College of Physicians, Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pediatric Endocrinology Training Center for Africa (PECTA).

Professional qualification: BSc, MB ChB, FWACP, FESPE, MGCPS, DPDM.

Station: Department of Child Health, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi.

What made you choose to study medicine?
I have a friend called Mr. Benjamin Opoku who was in the University at the time I passed common entrance. He advised me to read science. When he realized that I was good at science he advised me learn hard and kept on encouraging me. He later on told me that I could enter into the medical school if I continued to learn hard. He kept on writing me letters of encouragement almost every month throughout the year. During vacation, for the periods that he could make time, he would meet me at the village and teach me. When I got admission into 6th form I was admitted to do mathematics because I did better in mathematics. He resisted and convinced me to rather read biology. According to him biology students have better chance than their mathematics counterparts with regards to entry into the medical school. He so much insisted that I read biology instead. Fortunately, I did equally well in biology as well as in chemistry and physics. I applied to do medicine and I was considered after an interview. So simply, it is one man called Mr. Benjamin Opoku who influenced me to read medicine. I did not know anything at all about medical schools or doctors.

What made you decide to do pediatrics and more especially endocrinolog?
I did not like children at all as a medical student because of lack of cooperation from children taking care of them. During my house job training I did a rotation in pediatrics. It was very exciting the way very severely ill children recover very fast once the right diagnosis is made and the right treatment instituted. I even spent time in the district to see if any other discipline could attract my attention but none except pediatrics. I opted to do pediatric endocrinology as sub specialty because it is a neglected field in the medical school and in clinical practice.

What changes have you seen in the field of diabetes in Ghana since you began to work in the field?
What changes have you seen in the field of diabetes in Ghana since you began to work in the field?

What challenges have you encounter whilst managing children living with diabetes in Ghana?
Diabetes especially in children is under diagnosed in many of our hospitals. Diabetes can mimic many infections such as pneumonia, malaria, meningitis etc. Many hospital managing children with these acute infections without screening for diabetes are likely to miss children with diabetes. In such cases, mortality is almost 100%.

Families of children who have been diagnose and are being followed up do not have enough money to support their care.

Insulin supply is not quite regular and this affect the smooth and continuous care that is needed for these patients. Many of the patient default in their follow up care plan.

What are some of the challenges that you encounter with the parents or guardians who take care of wards living with diabetes in Ghana?
Some of them do not bring their children at the appointment dates. We call them when they default.

Some do not have money for any drug beyond the health insurance and for necessary investigations.

How can individuals and organizations work to support young people living with diabetes in Ghana?
Individuals and organizations should know what diabetes among children and adolescents entail including the pathophysiology, treatment and follow up. The cost involved in the care of the patients. Education to health workers, other individuals and the organizations is very important so that they can all understand and then participate in the call for support for these children.

What is your ultimate wish for young people living with diabetes in Ghana?
My ultimate wish is that all people with diabetes especially children would be diagnosed and identified. Many of the children with diabetes are not diagnosed and they are believed to end up in mortality.  I further wished that regular training will be organized for as many doctors as possible to make them more confident in taking care of children and young people with diabetes. Finally, I wished that we could join forces to mobilize local support for children and young people with diabetes in Ghana.

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