Joshua Ayinga smiles broadly as he shares his story on Joy FM's Ultimate Health.

Ninteeen-year-old Joshua Ayinga looked forward to starting the next chapter of his life when he finished writing the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in September 2020.

But, barely a week after his final papers, the young lad who was travelling with his family from Bolgatanga to Accra got involved in a gory accident on Tuesday, September 15, 2020; changing his story forever.

The accident which made headlines in the country occurred when a DAF Cargo Truck believed to be heading towards neighbouring Burkina Faso, burst a tyre; causing the driver to lose control of the steering wheel.

The vehicle subsequently veered off its lane and crashed into the two buses; a KIA Granbird and STC bus fully loaded with passengers who were heading to Accra.

Some 20 persons including Joshua’s foster father and younger sister lost their lives in the crash whereas, about 50 passengers sustained various degrees of injuries.

Living with pains

Although Joshua survived the accident, he was not spared of the scars that could last for a lifetime.

The Senior High School graduate survived with a serious injury to the head and facial fractures making it difficult for him to speak, chew or even laugh.

This, he said, dwindled his confidence as he struggled to assimilate what the future holds for him.

“I used to wear mask all the time to hide my situation. I couldn’t smile or laugh at jokes. It was not that I didn’t want to, but if I tried it only brought me pain,” Joshua recounted.

The request for assistance

Uncle of the victim, Mathias Anaba who could no longer watch his nephew go through constant agony had to seek assistance.

So when Joy FM’s Ultimate Health with Nortey Dua presented the opportunity on October 4, 2020 by discussing the topic “Bad Breath, Broken teeth and Beyond”, the worried uncle sent a message to the host.

Mathias Anaba is Joshua’s uncle

The message read; “My 19-year-old nephew was part of that fatal accident on the Kumasi- Accra road on September 15, 2020, leading to the death of his foster father and his sister. He lost about five teeth, we are told replacing them can be very expensive. Is there any help anywhere?”

Explaining what made him send the message, Mr Anaba said he became perturbed about his nephew’s condition.

He admitted that although he did not have enough resources to fund the medical bills of Joshua, he had to “at least try” and get help from people who could assist.

(From L-R) Joshua, Nortey Dua, Dr Maclean Okang and Mathias Anaba at Joy FM studio to share the story so far.

“I didn’t know the direction to take. After the accident, Joshua was always complaining of headache, he was struggling and worst of them all, he couldn’t eat or drink.

“So I was just thinking, seeking for help anywhere [that I can get it]. And I am an ardent listener of Ultimate Health. So on that fateful afternoon, I was listening and by some miracle, the topic fitted our experience,” he said.

Being a discerning listener of Joy FM’s Ultimate Health, Mr Anaba stressed that he has never participated in the interactive segment of the programme but on that fateful day, he had to make an exception.

“I normally just listen to the show take some few points here and there to improve my lifestyle, I hardly engage in phone-ins. But [that day] something told me “send in a message.’ So I did, and here we are.”

Platinum Orthodontic & Advance Dentistry to the rescue

Host for Ultimate Health, Nortey Dua touched by the message, contacted the Platinum Orthodontic and Advance Dentistry and after a series of engagements, introduced Joshua and his uncle to staff of the facility.

Platinum’s Principal General Dentist, Dr Maclean Okang said after a comprehensive assessment, Joshua had lost 9 teeth – five upper and four lower teeth – and had to undergo an oral surgery to correct the jaw fractures he sustained in the accident.

Dr Maclean Okang is Platinum’s Principal General Dentist

Describing Joshua as one of his most punctual patients, Dr Okang said, “One thing I like about Joshua is that he never misses an appointment. If Joshua’s appointment is at 9am, as at 7:30am you will see him at the car park. So I saw him as somebody who wanted to get this fixed.”

According to him, Joshua’s family only paid for the plate that was used to wire his upper jaw, whereas, Platinum Orthodontic & Advance Dentistry absorbed the cost for all other healthcare service that he enjoyed.

“Just like the way if you broke your arm, they put it in a P.O.P, we were going to put his mouth in a P.O.P so that he is not moving to give the bones time to heal and that usually takes like six to eight weeks. And throughout this time, Joshua was on liquid diet,” he said.

(From L-R)Ultimate Health host, Nortey Dua, Joshua Ayinga and Dr Maclean Okang at Platinum Orthodontic & Advance Dentistry on April 1, 2021.

After five months of rigorous treatment, the broken teeth retained in the bone were all taken out and replaced by a valplast (flexible) dentures.

Grateful

Beaming with smiles, Joshua expressed gratitude to his uncle, Joy FM and Platinum Orthodontic & Advance Dentistry for giving him a second chance to be himself.

The young lad whose future after September 15, 2020, looked bleak is now hopeful.

“I want to thank my uncle for linking up with you [Nortey Dua]. I also want to say God bless you and my Doctor [Dr Okang]. They [Platinum Orthodontic and Advance Dentistry] really took care of me.

“Now, I am comfortable being myself. I can smile and openly interact with people and I am very happy,” he said smiling from ear to ear.

Young Joshua says he looks forward to furthering his education to actualising his dreams.