The Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancers (GHAPACC), has held a fundraising ceremony in Accra in aid of the construction of a hostel facility.
GHAPACC which was inaugurated in 2009 consists of parents of children diagnosed with cancers and other life threatening blood disorders, health professionals involved in caring for the children, as well as survivors of child cancers.
Dr Kwame Ave, Chairman of GHAPACC, said even though the association has many needs, the immediate one is the construction of a proposed 54- bed hostel facility to cater for both cancer patients and their guardians.
He said more than 80 per cent of childhood cancer patients who are seen at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital are referred from facilities outside Accra and about 30 per cent of such parents abandoned treatment after few visits thereby leaving the patients to their fate.
?GHAPACC conducted investigations and found out that affected families did not abandon treatment because they lost hope and gave up but rather due to lack of affordable accommodation, accessibility challenges such as geographical and funding and difficulty in transporting patients to and from the hospital,? he said.
Dr Ave said to improve treatment outcomes and lessen the stress faced by the parents and guardians, providing accommodation has become an urgent call.
He said it is anticipated that the hostel facility would improve childhood cancer outcomes significantly, by reducing untimely cessation of treatment by families, transportation challenges of patients and ensuring quick access to the hospital in case of any emergency that might arise during the course of the treatment.
?The total cost for the hostel facility is estimated at GH? 1,350,000 and GHAPACC cannot achieve this goal without the support of benevolent organisations and individuals who also believe in the worthy course of saving the lives of these precious children,? he said.
He has therefore called on public-spirited organisations to support the construction of the hostel.
Dr Gloria Quansah-Asare, Deputy Director-General of Ghana Health Service, commended GHAPACC for showing care to children suffering from cancer.
She said cancer affects more than 250,000 children worldwide with 80 per cent residing in developing countries.
She said if childhood cancer is detected early and managed appropriately, there is a 70 per cent chance of long term cure and the children might have more than 60 years of life ahead of them.
Dr Quansah-Asare said GHAPACC has rightly identified as a priority, the provision of free accommodation for such children as they are often required to report weekly for treatment that often span six months or more.
She has therefore appealed to all organizations as part of their corporate social responsibilities to support the hostel project, which would help give hope of life for the affected children.
Reverend Dr Fred Deegbe, former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana and Chairman for the occasion, noted that childhood cancer is a very difficult experience for one to go through and called on all well-meaning Ghanaians to support GHAPACC?s efforts.