NGO empowers Battor Catholic Hospital to fight Cervical Cancer

Battor Hospital The equipment was received on behalf of the hospital by Dr. Bernard Hayford Atuguba (second left)

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 Source: Joseph Kobla Wemakor

The Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre of the Battor Catholic Hospital in the Volta Region has received a major boost in form of donation of medical equipment worth $1,800 to support its work in the fight against cervical cancer in the country.

The centre, having obtained recognition for its significant contributions towards prevention, treatment and training of health practitioners to tackle issues of cervical cancer in the country, caught the attention of a Ghanaian-based non-governmental charitable organization, Phoenix Resource Centre Global Aid Ghana (PRCGA), to donate a new version of the Enhanced Visual Assessment (EVA) system, a mobile colposcope for cervical screening.

This is the second time the hospital has received such a valuable equipment from the same NGO to support its work.

The donation is expected to help countless women in the country get screened for cervical cancer so they can be treated on time to prevent them from getting cervical cancer.

Dr. Koku Awoonor-Williams, CEO of PRCGA, who made the presentation said, he was motivated to support the hospital for the second time upon realizing the tremendous gains it has made towards screening and prevention of cervical cancer in the country.

Dr. Koku Awoonor-Williams who also doubles as the Director of Policy Planning and Monitoring Evaluation(PPME) Division at the Ghana Health(GHS) believes the centre has been instrumental in conducting screening and treatment services to numerous women in the country.

“Battor Hospital is doing well in terms of screening despite limited resources available to do this work. Basically, prevention of cervical cancer is phenomenal so I think efforts towards prevention should be promoted because prevention they say is better than cure. So for me as a public health specialist, I would like to put my effort into supporting the hospital”.

Presenting the machine to hospital authorities, Dr. Awoonor-Williams reminded the recipients about the discussions which emanated from the previous review meeting which highlighted the positive things Battor Hospital has achieved as far as healthcare delivery in the country is concerned.

While commending the hospital for its achievements, he said: ” I’m sure part of those successes are due to the dedication that you guys have put into this and I think this is one of the positive innovations we’ve seen and we will carry it forward not only as an NGO but even as a service”.

The public health specialist reveals the Ghana Health Service is hitting on plans to adopt the Battor Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre as one of its main centres for building capacity against cervical cancer.

He also disclosed that he had discussions with the Director General of the GHS and an approval is also being given towards sponsoring some health workers from other hospitals in the country

“Here we are talking about 8 districts in 4 regions for a start; Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Region where they’ll come and do the training and we will fully sponsor them and also see how we can support further”.

The equipment was received on behalf of the hospital by Dr. Bernard Hayford Atuguba, a Medical Superintendent and Gynaecologist and other staff members at a short ceremony.

Head of the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre, Dr Kofi Effah thanked the donor for the support pledging the equipment will be put to good use and utilized for its intended purpose.

He appealed to other NGOs, Philanthropists, Corporate Institutions, Organizations and well-meaning Ghanaians to emulate the gesture and support the hospital to continue to deliver on its mandate of providing quality healthcare delivery to all Ghanaians in the country.

Cervical cancer is a cancer arising from the cervix due to the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. At its early stages, no symptoms are seen but later symptoms may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse. Bleeding after sex may also indicate the presence of cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer ranks as the most common cancer among women in Ghana. It is rare in developed countries with robust preventive programs that involve vaccination of girls and boys and screening of women and treating cervical precancer so that they do not develop cancer.

Despite the fact that cervical cancer is potentially preventable through vaccination and screening, more than 250,000 women per annum are estimated to die of the disease worldwide.

Unfortunately in Ghana, it appears there’s little commitment being shown in the fight against cervical cancer though the problem exists.

Dr. Bernard Hayford Atuguba, Medical Superintendent and Gynaecologist at the Battor Catholic Hospital believes apathy on part of medical superintendents, nurses managers and other superiors in the health sector in assisting their nurses to undergo cervical training in various centres across the country is a bane thwarting efforts in the fight against the menace.

He therefore called on leaders in the health sector to show concern in issues of cervical cancer and allow their staff including nurses and doctors to get access to training in cervical cancer prevention.

He also appealed to the government to help expand the training in cervical cancer prevention to cover other districts in the Volta region so as to reduce the burden on Battor Catholic Hospital as well as the cost screening and treatment through tax rebates on tools imported for cervical cancer prevention so that services will be affordable to women.

Meanwhile Dr. Effah has called on government to support the CHPS compounds with equipment such as mobile colposcope (like Enhanced Visual Assessment System) and the thermal coagulators so that nurses can undertake cervical precancer screening and treatment in the communities in order to save women the hassle of traveling long distances to the cities to access the services.

Battor Catholic Hospital, located at the North Tongu district of Volta region is known for providing quality healthcare services to many people around the Volta Region and beyond.

Since 1988 till date the centre has screened in excess of 16, 000 women for cervical precancer.

This number could have been much higher if cervical precancer screening was covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme and women did not have to pay from their pockets.

With commitment and dedicated staff at work the centre is making a difference

and a huge impact in screening women of cervical cancer in the whole of the Volta Region and beyond as well as helping build capacity of health practitioners across the length and breadth of the country despite the limited resources available at its disposal.

Currently the hospital can boast of a building block dedicated to undertaking of training, screening and treatment of cervical cancer which is the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre

Since its inception on May 31, 2017, over 20 health practitioners including Community Health Nurses, Midwives, Physician Assistants have been trained on how to screen and treat women of cervical cancer.

Aside that the centre has also managed to build capacity of over 8 specialists and 12 medical officers with support of a Ghanaian gynaecologist doctor from the UK.

Source: Joseph Kobla Wemakor