There is the growing suspicion among some fathers over the paternity of their children and they have consequently requested DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) test to establish the true paternity of such children.
This practice has been going on over the years, when blood samples and other specimen were sent to South Africa and other European countries for the test.
However, with the establishment of the DNA Centre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra a little over three years ago, requests from both fathers and mothers individually or jointly for DNA test keep increasing.
This issue of paternity, which was otherwise a private matter, has now become topical in public discussions because of a recent report involving a former international football star, Nii Odartey Lamptey of Black Stars and Anderlect fame, who is currently battling a divorce case following his suspicion that his wife of 20 years cheated on him.
This suspicion has compelled Nii Odartey Lamptey to subject his three children to a DNA paternity test.
The result, according to the reports, indicated that Nii Odartey Lamptey was not the father of the three children.
Last Wednesday, December 4, 2013, The Mirror visited the DNA Centre at Korle Bu to interact with the medical team to find out the rate at which people came to the centre.
The indications were that more couples, especially fathers, were subjecting their children to paternity tests to set their hearts at ease.
Dr Theophilus K. Adiku, the acting Head of the Immunology Department under which the DNA Laboratory operates within the central laboratory of the hospital, together with some members of his team was, however, tight-lipped on the current figures, since he claimed DNA issues bordered on confidentiality.
The Mirror, however, gathered from Mr Michael Amewonye, Laboratory Manager, that 10,000 requests for the test were made last year but the centre managed to deal with only 5,000, as a result of some huge challenges they encountered during the course of their work.
The figures for this year were still being put together as of the time of going to press, but The Mirror can confirm that the demand for this year could be double what was recorded last year.
When the centre was opened on June 29, 2010, more than 600 men rushed there to register and book for appointments to contest the paternity of their children. This clearly indicates a steady increase of request during the past three years.
According to the medical team at the centre, apart from a few people who usually came on their own volition to request for a DNA, the requests were mainly from the law courts, the Legal Aid Board, the Ghana Immigration Service, the high commissions and embassies, as well as the Ghana Police Service, particularly concerning forensic cases.
The team disclosed that what basically triggered the need for those tests were motivated by those who wanted to authenticate their status as the biological father of a child.
Similarly, mothers who wish to prove that particular men are the biological fathers of their children also request for paternity tests.
According to the DNA team at Korle Bu, the test, which currently cost GH?950 per child, is conducted under a strict and confidential environment based on referral letters from the courts, a lawyer or medical doctors.
On receipt of the referral letters, an appointment date is scheduled where counsellors educate the parties involved on the consequences of the outcome of the tests.
??We do not use any form of cohesion on victims. Therefore, there are instances where people, especially the women, had withdrawn their requests for tests because they knew the truth would certainly be established,?? the team added.
Currently, the key things needed for a DNA test are the blood and/or swap samples of the people involved.
In cases where a mother, her child and alleged father are tested and no inconsistencies are found, the probability of paternity is 99.999 per cent positive.
For them, the importance of protecting the child emotionally is recognised.
DNA is simply an acid that carries the genetic information in the cell, which is capable of self-replication and determines a person?s biological characteristics.
Source: The Mirror