Childhood Cancer cases alarming in Ghana – Efua Commeh

Dr M Efua Commeh Deputy Programme Manager Of Non Communicable Diseases Control At The Ghana Health Service
Dr. M Efua Commeh Deputy Programme Manager Of Non Communicable Diseases Control At The Ghana Health Service

328 cases of Childhood Cancer have been reported at four centres in Ghana as of 0ctober 2019 and the prevalent rate of childhood cancer in Ghana and across the world remains a worry to national health advancement.

This was revealed exclusively to Newsghana online by Dr. M. Efua Commeh while highlighting the uncertainties of Childhood Cancer, which poses a threat to national health advancement.


According to Dr. M. Efua Commeh, Deputy Programme Manager of Non-Communicable Diseases Control at the Ghana Health Service, cited that cancers were identified as among the leading cause of deaths among children worldwide, and said that about 300,000 children aged 0 to 19 years were diagnosed with cancer annually.

Highlighting on major treatment centres of Childhood Cancer, Dr. Commeh said the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital pediatric cancer unit treats on average 170 new cases per year while the same hospital accounted for approximately 51 per cent of recorded cases.

Adding that, Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy treatments services were available in the two main treatment centres in Ghana at both Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital for treating cancer cases.

Though the causes of cancer are unknown, Dr. Commeh said “once you are a living being, you are prone to cancers”, notwithstanding, there were few cases which were attributed to genetic factors, she added.

Burden of Childhood Cancers in Ghana

According to the Doctor, The World Health Organisation (WHO) in September 2018, stated Ghana as one of the first target countries in the WHO Africa Region to implement a goal dubbed “WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer: Opportunities for Policy and Programmatic Acceleration for 60 per cent target.

This, she reiterated was a collaborative effort which aims at combating childhood cancer.


“Over the past three years (2016-2018) at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, there were four main types of childhood cancer cases recorded”, she noted.

Touching on the percentages of the types of childhood cancer cases, Dr. Commeh said ‘Lymphomas’, a dominant type of the disease had 17 per cent cases recorded, ‘Leukaemia’, another type she pointed out had 16 per cent record, and ‘Wilms’, also a type had 14 per cent cases recorded, while ‘Retinoblastoma’ which is was the least type of the disease, recorded 12.5 per cent.

She explained that there could be cancer of the bone, cancer of the blood, cancer of the organs are other forms of cancer prone to all humans.

Clinical Care for Childhood Cancers in Ghana

Underscoring the need for proper, adequate and accessible care for children affected with Childhood Cancer, Dr. Commeh bemoaned that care for childhood cancer are restricted to a few health facilities.

Explaining that, there are about five (5) health facilities providing Paediatric Oncology services in Ghana, coupled with a challenge of limited availability of specialists and other support services.

However, she said there are two leading teaching hospitals in Ghana, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital are providing more comprehensive services in fighting Childhood Cancer.

“Other sites providing limited services of Childhood Cancer treatment include Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, Techiman Hospital and Tamale Teaching Hospital.

Way Forward

In curbing the catastrophic childhood disease, Dr. Commeh appealed that there must effective awareness to all and sundry that children can also get cancer, hence mothers should rush their children to the nearest health facility for treatment if there is an abnormality detected in the child.

She highlighted that, there is the need to increase human resource capacity of the health system to manage childhood cancer while making room for continuous advocacy for all facets of the Childhood Cancer spectrum.

“We need to decentralise service delivery to increase access, reduce cost to families and provide better opportunity for social support for affected families”, she stated.

Dr. Commeh said the health services must strengthen the cancer surveillance system and research on Childhood Cncers in Ghana and added that it must incentivize the training of specialists in Paediatric Oncology (medical, nursing, pharmacy, laboratory among others).

Send your news stories to and via WhatsApp on +233 244244807
Follow News Ghana on Google News


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here