President of Breast Care International (BCI), Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai, has appealed to the Ghanaian government to look for measures to lower the cost and increase accessibility to cancer medications.
She noted that cancer death rate in Ghana will be reduced if cancer patients can easily access cancer treatment facilities and able to buy cancer medication at lower prices.
She clarified that the majority of cancer cases, particularly breast cancer, occur in rural areas with high rates of poverty and limited access to medical facilities.
She made the appeal during the observance of World Cancer Day (WCD) at the Straight Way Chapel International at Santasi, Kumasi, in the Ashanti region, on Sunday, February 4, 2024.
The WCD, led by Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), is observed globally on February 4, to mobilize urgent action to improve cancer risk awareness as well as prevention, treatment and care services for all individuals, regardless of who they are and where they live.
The theme for the WCD 2024 is ‘Close the Care Gap’.
“There are limited cancer treatment facilities in Ghana, and those that exist don’t have enough stock of cancer medications. Even the treatment is high that it prevents cancer patients in accessing, which eventually leads to deaths,” Dr Wiafe Addai said.
“If the government builds more health facilities in the rural areas and stock those with enough equipment and medications at lower costs, deaths among cancer patients in Ghana will be reduced,” she added.
Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai, who is also the CEO of Peace and Love Hospitals in Kumasi and Accra, pointed out that if cancer education and awareness are not available, offering medical facilities and lowering the cost of cancer treatments will be ineffective.
“It’s all start with education. The first step should be properly educating the general public, and arming our healthcare professionals with the skills, knowledge and tools they need to take care of our people,” she posited.
“We must also focus on improving all aspects of Primary Health Care in the country. In order to relieve the unnecessary strain it places on healthcare delivery systems,” she added.
The Ashanti Regional minister, Simon Osei Mensah, who graced the occasion, proposed to the government to absorb the cost of breast cancer screening under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to facilitate early detection.
In his words, “the free screening will encourage women to participate in the exercise for early detection to prevent cancer patients from presenting late cases that could result in early deaths.”
Simon Osei Mensah thus advised the public to cultivate the habits of visiting health facilities regularly for medical screening to know their health statuses.
The Head Pastor of the Straight Way Chapel International, Rev Dr Ahmed Agyei, admonished religious leaders to desist from the attitudes of keeping cancer patients at their camps in an attempt to cure them, but rather allowing the patients to seek medical attention while prayers continue.
Source: Ghana/otecfmghana.com/Francis Appiah