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Ghana’s Oldest Person With Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus Dies at Age 26

26-year-old Dorcas Margaret Madjiki Madjitey who was believed to be the oldest person living with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (SBH) in Ghana has passed away.

She died about three weeks after undergoing surgery to correct a health challenge (incontinence) associated with her condition.

On Saturday, December 16, 2022, she was laid to rest in Tema in the Greater Accra Region, after a ceremony by her family, friends, school mates, and individuals and organisations from the disability community, including the National Council on Persons with Disability, where she did her national Service.

The National Council on Persons with Disability in a tribute, acknowledged Dorcas’ contribution to disability advocacy in Ghana.

“Dorcas contributed to building the common Fund Unit at the Council during her national service. Words cannot fully capture the great impact that Dorcas has made on disability inclusion in Ghana, especially persons with Spina Bifida”.

“She was a trailblazer for persons with spina Bifida in Ghana, striving for the highest academic and professional achievement and setting up a foundation to help prevent other persons with Spina Bifida from going through the challenges she went through”.

“Her exemplary leadership, insightful contributions to policies and programs, gentle demeanor, willingness to share ideas and information with everyone will be solely missed”, the tribute said.

Spina Bifida is the inability of the spinal cord to form properly in the womb, which affects mobility and also leads to infections of the kidneys and bladder; while Hydrocephalus, on the other hand, is a collection of fluid in the head, which affects the formation of the brain. It also leads to swelling of the head, if treatment doesn’t start early. The two almost always come together.

Another major challenge that comes with the condition is incontinence (lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation); a situation that creates great discomfort for victims.

In Ghana, children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus hardly cross the age of 10, due to the difficulty in its treatment and management.

Health experts have attributed Dorcas’ 26 years of living with the condition, largely to her family’s commitment to giving her the best care possible.

On her 25th birthday in 2021, Dorcas Madjitey launched an NGO, Dorcas Margaret Foundation to seek support for children with disabilities.

The organisation has so far supported many parents who have children with SBH, donated wheelchairs, organised free eye screening and paid for drugs and glasses for those diagnosed with eye problems, among other activities.

Before her demise, Dorcas was in talks with doctors in the United States, as well as Komfo Anokye and Korle Bu Teaching Hospitals in Ghana to embark on a campaign to improve the lives of persons with SBH.

Dorcas and her mother

Dorcas’ mother, a retired educationist, Dr. Mrs. Joyce Madjitey, who is the Acting Director of the foundation, called for support from philanthropic organisations and all well-meaning Ghanaians to continue Dorcas’ legacy.

She said, she was committed to continuing Dorcas’ service to the vulnerable but would need support to achieve it.

Dorcas Margaret Foundation can be contacted through the following numbers: 054 674 8380/054 577 1971/0240279695.


Source: disabilityNewsgh.com

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