Professor Renner Lorna, World Child Cancer (WCC) Project Lead and Consultant, has appealed to government to factor the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancers onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to aid the early diagnoses and treatment of the disease in order for the survival rate to improve.
Professor Lorna, made the appeal at the launch of an initiative by the World Child Cancer in Accra on Tuesday 25th September, 2018, dubbed, “Transforming lives of Children with Cancer in Ghana”
She indicated that, childhood cancer cases were very expensive for parents to bear, thus if they are able to access the NHIS, it will improve early diagnoses and treatment of the disease.
According to her, the budget for the project was $ 360, 000, aimed to contribute to the attainment of GDG 3 which seeks to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage for children with cancer in Ghana.
On his part, Mr. George Achempim, Country Representative of WCC, explained that, the 3-year project was being funded by the United Kingdom Government, for public education on childhood cancers and to build the capacity of health professionals to manage and treat the childhood cancer cases in the country.
According to him, the project was targeted to reaching out to a total of 1,200 children with new cancer diagnoses countrywide. Adding that, the project would give specialist oncology training to 192 paediatricians, nurses and clinicians, whereas 780 healthcare staff across the country would also receive training on early warnings signs.
George Achempim, further emphasized that, World Child Cancer was very committed to addressing the disparity of cancer care for children across the country, no matter where they were born. Saying, every child should have equal access to the best possible care and treatment.
The head of Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Health, Mr. Daniel Dogbatse, said, cancer related issues are prominent, thus the need for a National development Strategy for the control and interventions
of cancers in Ghana.
This strategy, he said, would provide a national direction to help the reduction of cancer mortality by 30% through primary prevention, effective screening and early detection; improve effective diagnosis, treatment of cancers, support rehabilitation and improve the quality of palliative care in Ghana.
Mr. Joseph Dixon, Senior Programme Manager of WCC added that, there would be provision of voluntary medical aid through twinning partnerships, fund essential medicines and supportive services, which would not have been available.
He said, the project would also include chemotherapy supplies, nutritional supplements, transport costs, community awareness initiatives, medical equipment and essential staff responsibilities.
Meanwhile, there was an inauguration of a 9 member Advisory Committee to steer the affairs of the project. The members were;
Prof. Lorna A. Renner, WCC Project Lead and Consultant, Barima A. Amankwah – Ghana NGO Coalition on the Rights of the child (GNCRC),
Dr. Catherine Segbefia – Doctor, KBTH, Dr. Vivian Paintsil – Doctor, KATH, Comfort Asoogo – Nurse, KATH, Eric Agyeman – Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancers (GHAPACC ) Kumasi, Leticia Amengor – Nurse, KBTH, Dr. Efua Commeh – NCD-GHS, and Dr. John Ahinkrah – Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancers (GHAPACC ) Accra.