The First Lady Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo has commissioned a 54-bed capacity hostel for children with cancer on treatment at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra.
The hostel, christened, “Rebecca Akufo-Addo/GHAPACC Sunshine House”, will address transportation challenges discouraging parents and guardians from seeking cancer treatment for their children and wards at the Hospital.
It has a kitchen cabinet, a 50 to 100-capacity conference room, reception area for visitors, dining area, kitchenette, storerooms, washing rooms with two washing machines, two television sets, family lounge, four poly tanks, playground, water dispensers, and refrigerators.
Mrs Akufo-Addo said the facility was named “Sunshine” because children were “a ray of sunshine” and expressed optimism that the facility would bring hope to them whiles undergoing treatment at the Oncology Unit.
She noted that only about 30 per cent of children with cancers physically sought medical attention annually and attributed it to transportation and accommodation challenges and happy that narrative would change.
Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah, the Chief Executive Officer of the KBTH, thanked the First Lady for her interest in the project and raising about 90 per cent of the funds for its construction through the Rebecca Foundation.
The facility, he said, would enhance quality of service to children with cancer.
He said the Sunshine project also included the construction of a new hematology centre to enable the Hospital conduct stem cell transplant for patients.
Dr. Felix Kwame Aveh, President of the Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancers (GHAPACC), said the realisation that 75 per cent of childhood cancers were curable prompted the formation of the Association in February 2009 to support members.
The support, he said, included psychosocial, spiritual, physical and financial interventions, adding that they also shared experiences to draw strengths.
Dr. Aveh said over 80 per cent of childhood cancer patients were referred from facilities outside Accra to the KBTH and that about 40 per cent of parents ignored visits to the Hospital due to challenges of accommodation and transportation.
The provision of accommodation had, therefore, become an urgent call in supporting the children while undergoing treatment, he said, and expressed gratitude to the First Lady for the benevolence.
Dr David Nkansa-Dwamena, the Board Chair, KBTH, assured that the hostel would be put to good use.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body.
The abnormal cells are termed cancer cells, malignant cells, or tumor cells.
It can damage the immune system and cause other impairments that could be fatal.
Work on the project started in February 2017.