The Ghana operations of Canadian mining giant, Golden Star Resources together with four other partners are to establish eight Prevention Health Units (PHU) at all government hospitals and Health compounds in its catchment areas in the Western region.
These PHUs will be equipped with examination couches and screens for breast cancer screening, and will be equipped with blood pressure apparatus, glucometers and strips, and other equipment to enable community members to check their health status.
The PHUs will become the focal point for the Ghana Health Service to promote and extend preventive health service for host communities for improved health outcomes. In Ghana, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths and the number of women with the disease is increasing and expected to rise, with changing lifestyles and increased reporting of cases.
The World Health Organisation estimates that mortality rate from non-communicable diseases will increase by 17% over the next 10 years, with the largest increase expected in developing countries especially in the African region.
Thus providing access to Preventive Health Services will be critical in creating awareness of these risks to reduce the burden on health systems. Unfortunately, in Ghana, over 60% of Ghanaian women only report breast cancer cases to the hospital when they have reached advanced stages.Golden Star Ladies Club with partner support over the last five years has been promoting a Breast Cancer Awareness initiative within the organization’s catchment areas with the aim of bringing free and confidential screening to communities that would otherwise not enjoy the service.
So far, more than 10,400 women and girls have undergone clinical breast cancer screening, as many as 270 lives potentially saved.
The Prevention Health Units (PHUs), delivered under the program partnership: Prevention is Better Than Cure, have emerged as a result of a five year long campaign of awareness by Golden Star and three years of collaboration under the partnership.
The partners are Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Ghana Health Service, Breast Care International and AEL Mining Services. In November 2017, Golden Star Resources’ Breast Cancer Awareness program was awarded with the Corporate Social Investment Project of the Year during the coveted Ghana Mining Industry Awards.