Include child cancer in the NHIS

By Yaw
Ansah/ Peggy Sam, GNA

Accra, Sept. 25, GNA – World Child Cancer
(WCC), an organization that supports children with cancer has called on the
government to incorporate the diagnosis and treatment of child cancers into the
National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

They explained that the inclusion would help
early diagnoses and treatment of the disease and improve the survival rates of
many children who die due to undiagnosed or late diagnosed.

Professor Renner Lorna, WCC Project Lead and
Consultant, made the appeal at the launch of the Transforming lives of Children
with Cancer initiative in Accra on Tuesday.

The three-year project being funded by the
government of the United Kingdom, seeks to educate the public on childhood
cancer and build the capacity of health professionals to manage and treat the
disease.

Prof Lorna noted that cases of childhood
cancer were expensive and that patient’s ability to access the NHIS would help
improve early referrals among public health officials, and improving on
diagnostic facilities.

Focusing on the new project to be implemented
by the WCC, she stated that the project with a budget of $ 360, 000, would
contribute to the attainment of sustainable Development Goals three that seeks
to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage for children with
cancer in Ghana.

Mr George Achempim, Country Representative,
WCC, noted that the project had a target of reaching a total of 12,000 children
with new cancer diagnoses.

He said the child cancer project would give
specialist oncology training to 192 paediatricians, nurses and clinicians.

A cohort of 780 healthcare staff across the
country, he disclosed would receive training on early warnings signs of child
cancers.

Mr Achempim, WCC was dedicated to addressing
the disparity of cancer care for children across in the country, saying, “Every
child, no matter where they are born, should have equal access to the best
possible treatment and care”.

Mr Joseph Dixon, Senior Programme Manager of
WCC said as part of the project, there would be voluntary medical aid that
would be provided through twinning partnerships, fund essential medicines and
supportive services, which would otherwise not be available.

Some of the activities of the project, he said
would include chemotherapy supplies, nutritional supplements, transport costs,
community awareness initiatives, medical equipment and essential staff roles.

Mr Daniel Dogbetse, Head of Monitoring and
Evaluation at the Ministry of Health noted that issue relating to cancer was
prominent, hence, the development of a new National Strategy for Cancer Control
in Ghana that provides key strategies and interventions for the management and
control of major cancers.

He said the strategy would provide national
direction, to help reduce cancer mortality by 30 per cent through primary
prevention, effective screening and early detection; improve effective
diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Mr Dogbetse explained that it would also
improve the quality of life for those with cancer and their family as well as
support rehabilitation and palliative care.

GNA

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