Campaign against childhood cancer launched in Accra

A fund raising campaign against childhood cancer was on Thursday launched with a call on parents to seek early and appropriate medical treatment to avoid unnecessary deaths of cancer afflicted children.

Dr Baffuor Awuah, Medical Director at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, made the call when he launched the campaign code named, “ One Ghana Cedi Project ’’ in Accra.

Dr Awuah said, “do not wait until things get worst otherwise you will only spend money but you may not be able to safe the life of the child.”

He said, pediatric cancer can mimic any condition such as swelling, fever and nose bleeding could be due to cancer but when people are sick they wait until there is a pain or sore before seeking treatment.

Dr Awuah appealed to traditional medical practitioners not to keep patients with them for too long only to refer cases to the hospital after the condition had deteriorated because cancer is an expensive disease to cure.

Dr Awuah noted that, a cancer care foundation was necessary so that philanthropists could make donations for the treatment of cancer affected children.

Nana Kwame Adu-Gyamfi of the Business Development office, SMS Ghana, also launched an SMS alert fund raising text code; 1947 to facilitate the efforts.

Mrs Emma Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Robert Mitchell Memorial Foundation (RoMMeF), presented a cheque for 12,252 Ghana cedis to Dr Vivian Paintsil, Head of Paediatric Oncology Unit, KATH for the treatment of three children admitted with cancer.

They are Prince Owusu, 3,364.00 Ghana cedis, Steven Okyere, 4, 656.00 Ghana cedis and Angelina Awuah, 4, 232.00 Ghana cedis.

Mrs Mitchell said it was estimated that over 1,000 children below the ages of 15 years are affected by cancer yearly in Ghana but only 150 find their way to the hospital.

She said even though survival rates of the disease in developed countries go as high as 75 per cent or more in some cases, in Ghana, the chances of survival are usually lower than 20 per cent for most cancers sometimes due to ignorance, inadequate diagnostic services and lack of awareness compounded by adverse socio-cultural practices.

She said there are only two pediatric cancer units one in Korle-Bu and KATH in Accra and Kumasi respectively.

The Foundation has produced translated versions of early warning signs in six Ghanaian languages, namely; Twi, Nzema, Ga, Ewe, Dagbani and Hausa adding that, RoMMeF had advocated for the inclusion of childhoods cancer in the National Health Insurance Scheme. Contributions could be made through these phone numbers; 0248290837 and 0204481026. GNA

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