Health News of 2014-07-24

Ghana rolls out strategies to control cancer

A five-year national strategy for cancer control is to be implemented in Ghana to manage and control cancers.

Under the strategy, various interventions would be rolled out to ensure that universal access to prevention and treatment of cancers is made available, including sensitisation programmes and coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme for cancer treatment.

Currently, the infrastructure, policies and programmes for the implementation are being rolled out to facilitate smooth implementation processes.

The First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama, announced this during a presentation at the eighth Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancers in Africa conference in Windhoek, Namibia.

According to her, she will support the national strategy with her campaign on breast and cervical cancers and HIV and AIDS, which is already being implemented in some regions, by continuous health screening sessions and sensitisation programmes.

She said so far public advocacy had proven to be the effective tool in championing the fight against cancers by providing relevant information on them.

Mrs Mahama said the Ghana Health Service (GHS), in collaboration with other development partners, had also commenced a five-day yearly training programme for health workers to introduce them to palliative care.

About 110 health professionals had been trained throughout the country, she stated, adding that the GHS had introduced mobile phone-based application that reminded cancer patients of upcoming appointments.

Although the government was playing its part, the First Lady, however, mentioned that the health system was challenged by resources, poor knowledge of the cancer diseases and socio-cultural beliefs, adding, "Many Ghanaian cancer patients do not have access to effective prevention or curative therapies, surgery or the expensive cancer drugs."

The First Lady asked African governments to make improvements in the health of women a priority, indicating that "we can only come together and demonstrate a shared responsibility towards ensuring that all women have access to effective and affordable screening and treatment of the cancer diseases".

The First Lady of Namibia, Mrs Penehupifo Pohamba, called for the empowerment of women to enable them to make meaningful contribution to society, adding that women needed to be well informed about the diseases to ensure early detection.

Also a retired nurse, Mrs Pohamba said cancer was a growing health concern in many developing countries, becoming a leading cause of death globally.