The Chief Director of the Ministry of Health Dr Sylvester Anemana has indicated that the treatment of cancer is to be added to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), saying that the measure would help save the lives of many patients who are currently given little help in seeking treatment.
According to him, it is the desire of the ministry to make significant steps in our effort to raise awareness and care for people with cancer.
Dr Anemana was speaking at a World Cancer Day symposium in Accra on the theme “Dispelling the Damaging Myths and Misconceptions about Cancer.”
“It is estimated that about 12.4 per cent of people living in Africa will develop cancer after the age of 40, meaning that if we take pragmatic steps now, we can save a lot of lives of those who struggle to purchase the medicine,” he said.
He mentioned that government had put the necessary measures in place to rebuild the radiotherapy and the nuclear medicine facilities at the Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye teaching hospitals to care for the many Ghanaians suffering from cancer.
“We must start to develop basic environmental standards that will protect us and our children from the harmful effects of industrial and domestic pollutants,” he declared.
Dr Anemana indicated that the use of harmful chemicals in food preparation, the weak enforcement of environmental byelaws and a lack of sufficient industrial waste management must be given critical attention as they can increase people?s likelihood of developing cancer.
He averred that the myth about cancer could only be dispelled with serious and continuous education that would also allow people to identify the risk factors and to deal with them.
A Radiation Oncologist of the Radiotherapy Department at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Clement Edusa, 307 reported cases of breast cancer, 221 cases of cervical cancer and 151 cases of head and neck cancer were recorded at the hospital.
He said cancer now accounts for more deaths worldwide than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, malaria and hypertension and must be given the needed attention and create awareness about the disease.
Dr Edusa explained that it is estimated that approximately 21.4 million new cancer cases will develop by 2030.