Understanding Crossmatching of Blood for Transfusion

For the ABO grouping, the antibodies produced against the antigens A and B are termed antibodies a and b respectively. Normally, in order not to cause any reaction; if you are of blood group A, Continue reading Understanding Crossmatching of Blood for Transfusion

Helicobacter pylori, the Dangerous Bacteria Which Causes Ulcer

One Monday morning, I wasn’t feeling too great but had to go to work anyway. I’m a medical laboratory scientist, hence at work I decided to screen myself thinking I had contracted malaria or some infection which was making me feel that way. I tested positive for Helicobacter pylori although I had no sign of stomach pain or upset. As a shocked and curious scientist I read more about this. Continue reading Helicobacter pylori, the Dangerous Bacteria Which Causes Ulcer

G6PD Deficiency; the Medical Condition that can Silently Kill 15-26% of Ghanaians

World Health Organization in 2016 estimated that the prevalence of G6PD deficiency to be between 15% and 26% of our general population. Have you realized there are some things that never gets talked about till it causes a havoc? Continue reading G6PD Deficiency; the Medical Condition that can Silently Kill 15-26% of Ghanaians

How Sickle Cell Status is Checked

At a point, one may wonder how medical laboratory scientists are able to check for the sickling status of people. Let me break the process down for easy understanding. Continue reading How Sickle Cell Status is Checked

Opinion: Lovers in Courtship Who Will Birth Sickle Cell Children Shouldn’t Marry

From our previous article on sickle cell anemia, it’s quite clear that giving birth to children with this disorder can be easily prevented by having a sickling test pre-marriage or pre-birth. Continue reading Opinion: Lovers in Courtship Who Will Birth Sickle Cell Children Shouldn’t Marry

Simple Breakdown of ‘Sickle Cell’

Most at times we hear of people who are “sicklers”, or have sickle cell disease. Some are our relatives, others are friends. What most people still know is such people suffer a lot of pain and die young in life. Continue reading Simple Breakdown of ‘Sickle Cell’

[Pt.2] Drug Abuse in Ghana: Causes, Effects & Solutions

Read Part 1 Here

…The instreaming of drug itinerants and quack doctors in our streets and at the doorsteps, has orchestrated to a high incidence of drug abuse. It is worthy to note that, not only in our homes and streets that one catches a glimpse of quacks plying their trade, but also in buses and in “troskis.” Their ability to entertain an audience, their sheer eloquence and the testimonies given by various people about the efficacy of their drugs are enough to sway a sick person or the young person to buy what they sell. Also, worthy to note is the fact that their drugs are inexpensive and so people cannot help but use them without qualified medical doctor’s advice.

 

Another factor responsible for the growing incidence of drugs abuse especially tramadol abuse is peer pressure or peer group influence. In schools especially, students tend to be lured by friends who are into the drug ‘businesses’. A young boy addicted to drugs may convince a colleague to drink alcohol, sniff cocaine, smoke marijuana or misuse tobacco substances in the name of fashion. Some youngsters who are determined not to defile their bodies with drugs are alienated, scolded, and given provocative names like “kolo, john, anti-so”, etc. To escape these cat-calls and mockery, some easily give up into the advice of abusing drugs in the nick of time.

 

Interestingly, advertisement has for the past decades have been one of the powerful tools used to lure men to misuse drugs in this country. On the wings of advertisement, young people get carried away by thoughts of fantasy. They begin to feel that they would in no time, beam with smiles, confidence and appear healthy like the smiling confident looking individuals in the advert who have been provident enough to do the right things at the right time. Elegantly dressed and as men and women of high social standing too, they have almost always, compelled their audience to accept them as role models through the quintessence of eloquence and high sounding catchy phrases and slogans like “Marijuana, the heavenly weed that opens the twin doors of wisdom and prosperity!” “Adonko bitters, bitters of the moment!. Brukutu, Barima nsuo” and etc. Deceptive as their behaviours and speeches are, several thousands of young talented people are influenced into imitating their lifestyles and habits.

 

Curiosity is also one of the factors that accounts for the misuse of drugs. Most young are very curious to find out what is contained in certain types of drugs especially tramadol and other alcoholic substances. They see others happily indulging in drugs. Often times, they find men and women of high social standing smoking and drinking profusely. They irresistibly gross anxious to find out what makes other people indulge in these drugs.

 

Drug abuse has is attendant problems. Most prominent among them is that it usually impairs the health of those who become addicted to the practice. Quite often, habitual users of strong drugs like tramol, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol become emaciated and completely dehumanized. Predictably, this leads to premature deaths. Habitual drug users are noted to be drowsy, lazy and totally unproductive. Though they may eat a lot, they lack the strength and conscience to contribute to the growth of a country’s economy. In most situations, the illegal use of drugs leads to mental illness. A drug addict easily breaks down psychologically. The abuse of drugs such as marijuana, alcohol and tramadol provokes acts of violence. Those who misuse such drugs become fearless, aggressive, reckless and prone to acts of inhumanity. This, no doubt, disturbs social order.

 

To combat the drug menace, the following measures should be put in place. There is the need for a nationwide educational campaign, aimed at exposing every citizen to the dangers inherent in using un-prescribed drugs. As much as education is essential, it is equally important for the government to embark on a health revolution. In this respect, hospitals and well-equipped clinics should be established in all towns and villages in the country to give people access to qualified health professionals. As a matter of urgency, hospital fees must be reviewed to make them affordable to the common man. The National Health Insurance Scheme must be regulated enough to cover most hospital bills especially most medicines and laboratory tests which most patients find it very mind-blowing to afford. The government and the security agencies should not delay in waging a relentless war against users and traders of hard drugs like cocaine, tramadol and marijuana. Whenever they are caught, instant punitive measures should be meted to them. In addition, the government is advised to place a ban on the sale of the most commonly abused drugs in the country. Lastly, quack doctors and drug peddlers should be given proper training to enable them conduct their operations more efficiently and effectively. If not, they should be banned from carrying out their operations.

 

I hope the suggestions presented in this piece would be carefully considered to provide a lasting solution to this abuse of drugs especially tramadol (currently trending) in our country.

MLS Kelly Michael Agbesi

Keywordz19@gmail.com

0243075464

Drug Abuse in Ghana: Causes, Effects & Solutions

Written by MLS Kelly Michael Agbesi

Obviously, one of the ills plaguing Ghana today is the misuse of drugs specifically tramadol, and other forms of substances which are either poorly regulated or banned for use in the country. Like a strike of light to a petrol or a smoker puffing cigarette smoke in the sky, illegal use and abuse of drugs has engulfed our society so much that most of these young men and women are suffocating to death under its intense canker.

It is in the light of this unfortunate situation that I’ll carefully examine the menace, causes and effects of using the unprescribed drugs and suggest ways to ameliorate it.

First and foremost, any substance (with the exception of food and water) which, when taken into the body, alters the body’s function either physically and/or psychologically is referred to as drug. (Wikipedia 2018). Drugs may be legal (e.g. alcohol, caffeine and tobacco) or illegal (e.g. cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin).

For the crux of my discussions, tramadol abuse by the youth in recent times has become very important for national and for that matter international attention.

What is tramadol?

Tramadol (or “Tramol” as called locally) is an oral tablet and a prescription drug that is available as an immediate-release and extended-release tablet. Tramadol is a controlled substance. This means it can only be used with a doctor’s close supervision.

Why is it used?

Tramadol is used to treat moderate to severe pain. This substance can be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

How it works!

Tramadol belongs to a “class of drugs” called ‘opioid agonists’. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. It works by changing how your brain senses pain. Tramadol is similar to substances in your brain called “endorphins”. Endorphins bind to receptors (parts of cells that receive a certain substance). The receptors then decrease the pain messages that your body sends to your brain. Tramadol works in a similar way to decrease the amount of pain your brain thinks you are having. (https:/www.healthline.com/health/tramadol-oral-tablet).

Drug (tramadol) abuse is firmly rooted in the following factors. In other not to “cry the wolf”, the limited and difficult access to healthcare delivery in Ghana contribute to the abuse of the substance of play (Tramadol). Young people, especially, those living in the countryside, have no or little access to the various health facilities across the country.  The little available ones are nothing to boast of, due to the poor regulation of the facilities and inefficient accessibility by the use of the National Health Insurance Scheme (which is to regulate medical health-care for the citizens in Ghana. These occurrences makes it very difficult for them to have the opportunity to consult a qualified health professional in moments of sickness, trauma or injury.

Citizens placed on such happenings would only have to rely on “tramol” or any other substance readily available in their surroundings. After all, if there is no qualified health professional, a quack doctor or a chemist’s shop is nearby. What a pity!

Added to this are hospital bills which tend to be unaffordable. The lay person walking on the street is incapable of receiving quality health services in the country. No seer to predict the increasing cost of medications and all kinds of health services provided in the country’s hospitals.

The most disturbing is the embarrassment caused to the poor sick person. Though I do not have evidences to prove to the fact that sick people have to pay money before they could see the doctor but I believe this is one of the many reasons they stay in the corner and kick the bucket slowly but painfully. Is it any wonder for such poor people to shy from high cost medical care and resort to tramadol or street peddlers or buy from a chemist’s shop at a low cost?

Quite prominent among the use of tramadol by young people is the desire of most of them to enhance their performances in various fields of human behaviour. For instance, these young people use tramol and other unprescribed substances to enable them do physically challenging activities. Most of them who are students erroneously believe that some ‘special’ drugs like tramadol would give them the required fitness, strength and mental alertness to improve their performances in the tracks, academics and ability to ‘last long’ in bed.

MLS Kelly Michael Agbesi

Keywordz19@gmail.com

0243075464

Lipid Profile: A Check On the Health Status of the Heart

The heart is arguably the most popular body part. The heart is mentioned in so many instances — in emotional matters, in religious issues, and health concerned issues. Probably, you lost a relative due to a heart disease or heard some of the world’s generational heroes sadly died of heart-related diseases.

The heart plays an important role in our health:  it pumps and distributes blood to all parts of our body, which ensures our survival. The heart is always working. The moment is stops beating, life ceases.

It is therefore essential to check the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease periodically (Cardio = heart, vascular = pertaining to structures that convey fluids, such as blood). This could be done in several ways, but one common and reliable method is to conduct a laboratory investigation to check your lipid profile.

A Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) conducts this test. It is preferable to fast for a period of 10-12 hours (preferably overnight fast). This is because the kind of food you take could alter the results from the test, and the report issued wouldn’t be reflective of your true cardiovascular risk.

A blood sample is used to carry out the test. An analyzer is used to measure or quantify some parameters related to cardiovascular health. These include

  • Total Cholesterol (TC)
  • High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
  • Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
  • Triglycerides

At this point, it is essential to know that the infamous “cholesterol” isn’t really a bad entity. Cholesterol plays key roles in the human body including the production of hormones such as testosterone (this hormone plays an important role male fertility). In addition, cholesterol is used in Vitamin D and Bile production. Cholesterol also plays a very important part in both the creation and maintenance of human cell membrane. So you see? It’s not as bad as they preach it to be, but like any good thing, excess intake poses danger. The liver produces cholesterol too, so don’t have the mentality of taking in cholesterol because you know your body needs it, but rather take it in regulated manner.

Lipoproteins are carriers of cholesterol, that is lipoproteins are carrier bags, and cholesterol are the content they carry. HDL is normally referred to us “good cholesterol” because it removes excess cholesterol from the blood vessels and carries it to the liver for removal. On the other hand, LDL usually referred to as “bad cholesterol” deposits excess cholesterol in walls of blood vessels, which can contribute to atherosclerosis (a usual cause of heart attack), increasing your risk of developing cardiovascular disorder.

A measure of these parameters put together will give a broad indication if you have a cardiovascular risk. Check your lipid profile today. Kindly contact +233 540 666 781.