As the universal Church marked the 28th World Day of the Sick February 11, the Catholic Church in Ghana through the National Catholic Health Service (NCHS) launched the St Pauline Clinic, dedicated to diabetic care.
Based in the capital city of the West African nation, “St. Pauline Clinic will be used as a base, working with various Municipal Health Directorates in Accra, to launch a school diabetic care programme, which will involve continuous screening, education, counselling and treatment of diabetic cases,” the Director of the NCHS, George A. Adjei, said during official inauguration of the facility.
“At the new Clinic, adults especially the working class would be targeted for both diabetes and hypertension care while plans were being put in place to screen for a number of other conditions including cervical cancer and Parkinson’s disease,” Mr. Adjei said February 7 during the ceremony that took place at the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS) in Accra.
The name of the clinic is in honor of St. Pauline, a Catholic nun from Austria-Hungary who worked in Brazil. She was diabetic and prayed unceasingly for a cure and for others suffering from diabetes.
Consisting of two consulting rooms, two recovery rooms, a pharmacy, laboratory, administration, outpatient department, stores, warehouse and washrooms, the facility was built by Novo Nordisk, a Danish global health care company and world leader in diabetes care, in partnership with the NCHS.
Explaining how the Danish Company supported countries, the Regional Manager, West and Central Africa of Novo Nordisk, Ibrahim Bakayoko said, “Novo Nordisk has worked with its partners including the NCHS to reach many patients, healthcare personnel and the general public with interventions.”
Currently, NCHS has 45 hospitals, 11 health training institutions, and 5 specialized institutions out of which three of the hospitals that have diabetic centres.
As one of the facilities of NCHS, St. Pauline Clinic is expected to provide quality health services with focus on non-communicable diseases to the NCS staff, the local communities and corporate institutions within and beyond the Shiashie catchment area.
Bishop Emmanuel Kofi Fianu of Ghana’s Ho diocese presided over the commissioning of the facility, a ceremony that was combined with the launch of the 2020 world day of the sick. He member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), Bishop Fianu is the Chair of the Commission of Health at the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC).
At the event, Mr. Adjei appealed to institutions and individuals who have concerns of tackling diabetes and other non-communicable conditions within Accra and beyond to join hands with NCHS to bring care to more people.
The Secretary General of NCS, Fr. Lazarus Anondee, who will be a beneficiary of the facility, expressed joy that the Clinic was being commissioned at a time when the world is confronted with the coronavirus threat.
“We pray that the developed world will be able to contain and control its spread because there are too many nations with weak health systems to effectively deal with,” Fr. Anondee said in reference to the coronavirus.
The Ghanaian cleric added, “In a crisis situation as this, the first point of call is health facilities, no matter how big or small they are. At least there will be someone who is enlightened to give care and assist those afflicted or provide education on prevention. The St. Pauline Clinic will just do that.”
At a Mass prior to the launching of the 2020 World Day of the Sick, Bishop Fianu called on caregivers particularly Chaplains of Catholic Hospitals to help the sick discover the closeness of God in difficult times.
“We appreciate the good ministry you carry out in our facilities; you are the face of Jesus to many of our sick brothers and sisters and their relatives,” Bishop Fianu said.
The 62-year-old Ghanaian Prelate asked caregivers to adopt a personalized approach to the sick, not just of curing but also of caring in view of integral human healing.
In his considered view, “it is not enough to seek to cure a sick person by providing the treatment needed … it is not enough to exhibit our professional competence.”
He asked caregivers to strive to promote the dignity and life of people and reject any compromise in the direction of euthanasia, assisted suicide or suppression of life, even in the case of terminal illness.
“When you are confronted with limitations and failures of medical science, remember that life is sacred and belongs to God, hence it is inviolable and no one can claim the right to dispose of it freely,” Bishop Fianu told caregivers and medical practitioners.