The Ghana Public Health Association has called for an open discussion on the burden of sexual dysfunction and loss of libido amongst men and women in Ghana and to develop a programme for managing these dysfunctions within the formal healthcare system.
This according to the association would help curb the increasing use of aphrodisiacs which is causing a lot of harm among many Ghanaians.
The Association at seminar to examine the impact on the health of people on chronic use of aphrodisiacs in Ghana concluded that the phenomenon constitute a serious health risk which needs urgent national attention.
The Association observed that although there are efficacious drugs for the management of sexual dysfunction and loss of libido, there is very weak scientific evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of so-called aphrodisiacs globally, many of which have negative health consequences.
The situation they say is more precarious in Ghana as many have resorted to the use of dangerous substances that have claims of increasing libido and enhancing sexual performance.
They emphasized that in cases where erectile dysfunction is suspected a ccareful assessment by a qualified medical practitioner is needed before appropriate medicines can be prescribed.
Harmful effects of aphrodisiacs
The Association recounted some of the potential adverse health effects of the use of such drugs and chemicals as aphrodisiacs, and even to treat erectile dysfunction, to include:
Cerebro-vascular hemorrhage, heart attack, palpitation, sudden cardiac arrest, sustained erection and impotence if not managed well, kidney failure, as well as problems with sight and hearing.
Dr. George Amofah, Vice president, Ghana Public Health Association in a statement lamented that a number of people fall prey to these dangerous substances due to false marketing strategies, especially by radio and TV advertisement that lure people to use and depend on fake and dangerous drugs and chemicals with the intent of enhancing their sexual prowess without due cognizance of the health implications.
“Popularity of (PDE – 5) inhibitors with young adults has increased over the years and it has developed into a multi-dollar market withannual sales exceeding US $ 1,934 million”.
“Unfortunately, despite limited evidence to support the efficacy of PDE-5 inhibitors and other drugs as aphrodisiacs, there is definitely an increase in adverts and other marketing strategies to influence the use of aphrodisiacs by especially men (both young and elderly) worldwide, Ghana included”, the Association noted .
The Association therefore called for increased government support for the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) with both material and human resources to strengthen its post – marketing surveillance unit to facilitate the tracking and arrest of all those who may wish to market Substandard, Spurious, Falsely labelled, Falsified and Counterfeit (SSFFC) medicinal products to guarantee public health safety.
They also request the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to fully support the FDA to complete establishment of a legal department with its own trained prosecutors to ensure speedy prosecution of offences under the Public Health Act, 2012 (ACT851).
By Daniel Nonor, Accra