Experts bemoan deficiencies in Ghana’s cancer care, treatment

Experts in the cancer treatment ecosystem have expressed concern about Ghana’s high cancer patient mortality rate as a result of inadequate cancer care and treatment.

The experts, who included health professionals, academics, and policymakers, stated that poor data collection, lack of a cancer registry, and insufficient policies and health facilities was a serious concern throughout the country.

According to the International Research Agency for Cancer the overall cancer incidence rate Ghana is 120.4 percent of 100,000 people per year, whereas the overall cancer fatality rate is 82.6.

These issues were highlighted at the Trust Hospital Cancer Care Academy, which was held in Accra on the topic ‘Closing the Care Gap: Advancing Cancer Care through Education and Collaboration.’

The three-day event brings together all essential players from Ghana’s cancer care and treatment ecosystem to discuss cancer-related issues.

Dr. Florence Dedey, a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Medical School’s Department
of Surgery, stated that Ghana’s cancer care and treatment policies and data were insufficient and clearly out of date.

‘Currently, the existing policy used in cancer care and treatment in Ghana is the National Cancer Control Plan, which was supposed to span a period of time from 2012 to 2016. This policy is out of date, as there has not been any review in recent years. There is also a challenge of limited data, and the probability of the figures for cancer is being underestimated,’ she said.

She advocated for an effective cancer registry to close the data gap for cancer patients in the country, allowing for cost-efficient interventions, research, and surveillance.

Dr. Wallace Odiko-Ollenu, a representative of the Ghana Health Service, also highlighted some of the country’s cancer care and treatment inadequacies.

 He stated that inadequacies in the areas of financing, healthcare personnel, education, and information exchange drove cancer sufferers to seek treatment from quacks.

Dr. Wallace added that educ
ation and collaboration were vital in improving cancer care and treatment in Ghana, bringing essential insights about cancer to patients.

 ‘Every successful health-care system relies heavily on education. For the patient, this includes having access to full information about their diagnoses, treatment options, and available support services. It also empowers patients to make informed decisions regarding their healthcare,’ he said.

He advocated for interdisciplinary teamwork among health professionals to facilitate early identification and intervention in cancer.

Dr. Ollenu also urged health workers to stay up-to-date on emerging cancer treatment technologies and trends.

Dr. Mary Efua Commeh, Chief Executive Officer of the Trust Hospital, spoke on the importance of hosting the three-day event, stating that it provided an opportunity for both health professionals and non-healthcare professionals to learn.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Cape Coast Teaching Hospital suspends haemodialysis service

The Cape Coast Teaching Hospital has temporarily halted its hemodialysis services which cater for many individuals from the Central, Western and parts of Eastern Regions.

According to the facility, the suspension was necessary to uphold the continuous standard of care and protect the lives of its patients.

A statement issued to the Ghana News Agency and signed by Mr. Fred Nyankah, Public Relations Officer of the largest referral facility in the Region and released to the GNA on Saturday, apologised to its clients for the inconveniences caused.

Hemodialysis is a medical procedure that involves the utilisation of a dialysis machine and a specialised filter referred to as an artificial kidney to cleanse the blood.

The procedure involves channelling the blood into the dialyser, necessitating a physician to establish access to the blood vessels, usually through minor surgical intervention, commonly in the arm.

The statement said, ‘The Cape Coast Teaching Hospital respectfully notifies our esteemed clients and
the public regarding the temporary suspension of hemodialysis services.

‘This decision was made in response to quality issues encountered last week during our regular operations.

The statement acknowledged management’s awareness of the crucial role the services played in the lives of many who depended on it for survival.

‘We understand the indispensable necessity of this service in our region and the challenges this suspension may pose to our clients and the public.

‘As a result, we sincerely apologise for this disruption in services,’ the hospital said.

At present, the Management has commenced corrective measures necessary to ensure a swift resumption of services, potentially before the end of next week.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Bodi District NHIA sensitises public on Health Insurance Scheme

The Bodi District office of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has organised a keep-fit exercise as means to educate the public on the importance of registering onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The exercise formed part of the implementation of the preventive health care measures introduced by the Chief Executive Officer of the Authority.

It was organised in collaboration with Unity Keep fit, and Tabola Keep Fit clubs in Bodi, and attended by staff of the Bodi District Directorate of the Ghana Heath Service, some healthcare service providers, and management and staff of the NHIS Bodi district office.

Mr Nti-Gyebi Yaw Padmore, the Bodi District Manager of the NHIA, addressing the gathering, explained some of the benefits and package of the NHIS and the new additions, and encouraged non-members to join.

He also took them through the processes of downloading the MyNHIS mobile application and how to use it for self-registration for first-time applicants.

Mr Lord Dickson, the Bodi
District Health Promotion Officer of the Ghana Health Service, commended the NHIA for the exercise and asked them to regularly organise such events to help prevent any unexpected health issues among residents in the area.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Volta Health Network medical outreach benefits hundreds in Kpando, Anfoega

A medical outreach by the Volta Health Network (VHN), a network of medical personnel and other individuals interested in healthcare delivery in the Volta region, has benefited hundreds of people in Kpando and Anfoega communities.

The Network hosted by the Margret Marquart Catholic Hospital, Kpando and the Anfoega Catholic Hospital would treat patients free of charge.

Some health cases being handled include heart, liver, kidney, thyroid and respiratory diseases, fibroids, eye screening, lumps, diabetes, hernias, glaucoma, ovarian masses and cervical screening.

Dr Selasie Mortoti, Co-President of the Network, said their aim was to help improve healthcare in the Volta region and beyond.

‘We recognise that there are a lot of underserved population in our areas, and we have to come to the doorsteps and deliver quality healthcare to the people.’

Dr Mortoti said the event was the third after successful events at Keta and Adidome in the first and second years respectively.

He said the dedication and tirelessnes
s of volunteers of the Network had led to the success of past outreaches.

Dr Mortoti said the Network had expanded its services and there were a lot of services to be offered provided they had the resources and the people.

He called for benevolent support and invited individuals who wanted to be part of the Network as volunteers to willingly and freely join them.

Dr Angela Dotse, Medical Director, Margret Marquart Catholic Hospital, said it was a privilege for the Hospital to partner the Network in providing the outreach.

She said the two facilities were counting on the expertise and experiences of the Network over the past two years to serve as an inspiration for them.

Dr Dotse said many people had benefited from several services and expressed gratitude to the volunteers of the Network for their dedication.

Mr. Emmanuel Asamani Darko, Ho Diocesan Director of Health, commended the Network for the thought and decision to partner with the Ho Diocese as well as the two health facilities.

He noted that it
was a kind of collaboration in reaching out to those on the border line of healthcare and giving them a lifeline.

Mr. Darko said the outreach had also led to the building of capacities of staff of the two hospitals, which would greatly affect healthcare delivery.

Mr. Geoffrey Badasu, Kpando Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), said most beneficiaries could not have afforded services that the Network was giving freely.

He commended the Network for the good intervention which would go a long way to support the efforts of the government in bringing good health to the citizenry.

Some medical equipment were presented to the two health facilities through the support of Americares Incorporated.

Some people who benefited from free eye surgeries were grateful to the Network.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Men’s Fellowship of Covenant Family Community Church undertakes maiden health initiative

The Kingsmen Fellowship of the Covenant Family Community Church has commenced its first health project, which includes health screenings and blood donation.

The event, which was held at the church’s premises in Accra, witnessed church members and community members donate blood and screened for various health complications, including malaria, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

It also formed part of the activities to commemorate the yearly Father’s Day celebration.

Mr. Dennis Osei-Manu, the General Overseer of the Church, bemoaned the emerging habits of materialism and monetization of everything in the country.

He charged Christians in the country to adopt a communal perspective towards one another in order to collectively solve societal problems.

‘I believe that we all must have a heart for helping one another, which is very crucial for society. In this country, we are becoming more of ourselves, thinking only about ourselves. The Lord did not create us to be like that; we want to be people who care for on
e another.

‘I want to encourage Ghanaians not to put money ahead of everything. Even a little help will make people want to charge you. We should not allow money to be the goal of our lives,’ he said.

The blood donation exercise, he noted, reflected the Christian values of the Church of helping the needy and the vulnerable in the society.

Mr. Prince Charls Amoah, President of the Kingsmen Fellowship said churches must demonstrate commitment to the physical and spiritual development of their communities.

‘We live in a community where as a Church we are not supposed to detach ourselves from the community. We are supposed to impact the society so that we do not only preach Christ but also look at their well-being.

We should also not solely focus on their spiritual needs but their health is also important. We want to have a full human being devoid of any health challenges, ‘he said.

Mr. Amoah revealed that the fellowship had planned to undertake several other projects, including evangelism, in subsequent mo
nths to promote Christian values.

Mr. Gideon Sackitey, a donor and a church member, said he was motivated to participate in the event due to the prevailing challenge of the blood deficit at the Ghana Blood Service.

He urged other churches to organise events to promote God’s words and Christianity.

The Church was joined by health professionals from the Bank Hospital and the National Blood Service to conduct the exercise.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Pharmaceutical Society calls for swift clearing of locked-up commodities

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has urged the Minister of Health to ensure that the locked-up Global Fund commodities at the port are released on time as promised.

A statement issued by the PSGH and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said: ‘Despite the fact that previous promises by the MOH to clear the containers did not materialise, the PSGH is willing to accept these renewed assurances by the Ministry and hold the Minister to his two weeks.’

The PSGH noted that the Health Minister on Thursday, assured stakeholders and Ghanaians that all locked-up health commodities would be cleared within two weeks.

Nearly three months ago, the Association expressed deep concern over critical issues affecting Ghana’s access to essential health commodities paid up for Ghanaians by the Global Fund.

It said the commodities, though vital for the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria, had been languishing at the port since August 2023 due to delays in clearance caused by unpaid taxes and levies at
the port, which the Government of Ghana needed to fix.

The PSGH reminded the MoH that some of the remaining containers had life-saving medications and health commodities, including artesunate injection for severe malaria, Tuberculosis (TB) medicines for both category 1 and category 2 patients, Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits (RDTs), and GeneXpert cartridges for TB diagnosis, among others.

The Association said further delay in clearing the remaining containers would have severe repercussions, including complete stock-out of malaria RDTs, which hampered the ability to diagnose and treat malaria promptly.

‘Fatal consequences for severe malaria cases could rise in children under five years and pregnant women. ‘We remind the Ministry of the urgent need to address the $844,046 ineligible expense reimbursement to the Global Fund to avoid the potential loss of $1.6 million from the current grant cycle. This financial oversight, if not rectified, will further strain our healthcare system and adversely impact the
health of Ghanaians.’

The PSGH expressed its commitment to collaborate with the MoH and other stakeholders to develop sustainable solutions that would ensure uninterrupted access to essential health commodities.

‘We advocate robust domestic financing mechanisms to support our HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria programmes and safeguard the health of all Ghanaians,’ it stated.

‘As pharmacists and healthcare professionals dedicated to the well-being of our patients, we stand with all Ghanaians during this challenging time. We urge swift and decisive action to resolve this crisis and protect the health gains we have worked so hard to achieve.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Presbyterian Primary Health Centre guides mothers in nutritious meal preparation for children

The Presbyterian Health Centre at Salaga under the Presbyterian Primary Health Care (PPHC) has held a nutrition showcase event on using local food items to prepare nutritious foods for children under five years.

The day’s event, which took place at Salaga in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region, was a Mandela Day Service Grant (MDSG) initiative with support from the United State of America, Department of State, through IREXs Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni programme.

It is aimed at building a culture of volunteerism among the community and health workers in commemoration of Mandela Day.

A total of 100 women, who had children under five years, were trained on how to prepare balanced meals for children using the four-star diets.

Participants witnessed both instructional and practical sessions, which included demonstrations on how to prepare nutritious meals.

Prior to the event, health care workers and volunteers received training to equip them with the knowledge needed to effectively edu
cate participants on topics on nutrition.

This was done under the supervision of Mr Fred Nketiah Mensah, and Mrs Silvia Phaphali Adzitey, co-winners of the 2024 MDSG and Alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, 2023.

Mr Mensah, a 2023 Mandela Washington Fellow and Coordinator, Presbyterian Primary Healthcare Centre, said the event was to climax the MDSG.

He said it was to encourage volunteerism in the community, adding volunteerism was an element of the Mandela Washington Fellowship grant.

He stated that although the country had made progress, malnutrition was a national issue that needed coordinated and collaborative approach to successfully achieve improvement.

He said support from UNICEF and the World Food Programme for therapeutic foods supply had stalled, and said the project aim to teach women to prepare nutritious foods using common and available local dishes for children in the absence of these therapeutic foods.

Mr Abdul Latif Abubakari, Senior Nutrition Officer, East Gonja Municipal Health
Directorate, taught the women how to combine the four-star foods to prepare nutritious meals for children and said everything needed to prepare a nutritious meal was easily accessible in their communities.

He said children, by the end of a day’s meal, must have benefited from the nutrients from each of the four-star diets, which were animals and animal products, nuts and beans, fruits, and vegetables as well as staples.

He advised participants to substitute unhealthy snacks with fruits for their children, noting that fruits had most of the nutrient’s children needed to live healthy.

Some volunteers under the initiative, speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, recounted their role in ensuring that women got knowledge about nutrition through their daily routine check-ups.

Miss Memunatu Sakibu, a volunteer, said she visited mothers who had difficulties caring for a child, and reported to supervisors and received the needed attention, adding that it was part of her volunteer work.

Source: Ghana
News Agency

Okoe Boye meets Finance Ministry, GRA officials to expedite clearance of Global Fund commodities

Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, Minister of Health, has met officials of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to expedite the clearance of essential health commodities donated by the Global Fund.

The move followed a statement issued by the Health Ministry confirming the receipt of GHC7,429,694.39 from the Ministry of Finance for the payment of demurrage and other third party charges to ensure the clearance of all outstanding Global Fund containers.

The Ministry of Health emphasised the importance of the funding stating: ‘It is expected that with the funds received, all outstanding containers will be cleared by the end of June 2024.’

Dr Okoe Boye, in an interview with the media during a project inspection visit to the La General Hospital and Weija Children’s Hospital, said he was taking personal interest in the matter and would not rest until the goods were cleared.

In pursuit of that, a meeting was held with the Finance Ministry and the GRA on Friday June 14, 2024, to ensure the cle
arance and delivery of the life-saving medications, medical equipment, and other essential health commodities.

Members of the Ghana Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund (CCM Ghana) recently threatened a demonstration over the inability of the government to clear the remaining medical provisions at the port.

In an open letter to the President Akufo-Addo, Mr Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, Acting Chair, Ghana CCM, highlighted the concerns of members of the international community on the matter.

‘Some are asking whether the Government of Ghana no longer has control over its ports, because they [international agencies] do not understand how a sovereign State cannot clear commodities from its port,’ he stated.

Mr Ortsin called for quicker intervention by the Government, saying the delay could affect relations between Ghana and the Global Fund.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Sung Foundation commemorates Menstrual Hygiene Day with students

Sung Foundation, an NGO, has commemorated Menstrual Hygiene Day at some schools in north to improve personal hygiene amongst students.

Sung Foundation took the initiative to provide sanitary pads to girls in three schools in the Northern Region in commemoration of Menstrual Hygiene Day, which is observed annually.

A team from the NGO visited Tali JHS in the Tolon District, A.M.E Zion and Garizegu JHS in the Sanarigu Municipality to educate adolescent girls on the importance of menstrual and personal hygiene.

The educational sessions covered comprehensive information about menstruation, including its biological process, the importance of accepting, and embracing this transition into womanhood, and the proper use of sanitary items.

Additionally, the girls were advised to practise abstinence to avoid teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, which could jeopardise their education, and health.

Madam Adam Shafawu, Gender and Governance Officer, Sung Foundation, speaking during the event, said Sun
g Foundation recognised that one major reason for girls’ absenteeism from school during their periods was lack of access to sanitary pads leading to fear of soiling their clothes and being mocked.

She said, ‘to address this issue and support these girls in staying in school during their periods, each girl received a free sanitary pad as part of Sung Foundation’s celebration of this important day.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

NHIA to roll out Visitors Health Insurance Scheme next month

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) will roll out a Visitor Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS), effective July 1, 2024.

It will require non-residents on a visit to Ghana to sign onto a health insurance scheme which will cover them during the period of stay in the country.

The policy is in line with section 2(b) of the National Health Insurance Act, 2012 (852).

Members of a technical working committee set up to deliberate on modalities of the policy made this known at a media engagement in Accra.

Dr. Isaac Charles Noble Morrison, a member of the NHIA Board, said there had been stakeholder engagement on the policy which would be implemented in phases.

He said the technical working group included the Ministry of the Interior, Ghana Immigration Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Transport, Tour Operators, and ‘anybody who has something to do with visitors coming into the country’.

He said the policy was backed by the Ministry of Health, and that the technical committees had also engage
d various Ghanaian consular missions abroad who made input towards the implementation of the policy.

‘…It is all about health, in case you [a visitor] bought an insurance policy and had any medical condition, which is not a chronic medical condition, you will be covered,’ he stated.

Dr Inua Yusuf, Head of Legal, Ministry of Health, said the policy would be applied based on ‘what the [Ghana] law defines as non-resident’.

Non-residents, he explained, were persons living in the country for a period less than six months and a total period of 12 months.

He said the Authority was considering six different layers of the policy, and that details of each of the service packages would be communicated.

‘It has taken us several years to implement this project so we want to start gradually. We are tying the (VHIS) to visa issuance, and we are working closely with the Immigration Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs…We are starting with people coming into the country with a foreign passport,’ he stated.

Dr Yus
uf ad a National Non-Resident Visa Insurance Technology platform, designed through a private-public partnership, would enable visitors to register and buy the insurance policy from healthcare service providers in the country, adding that there would be terms and conditions for subscribers of the VHIS.

Source: Ghana News Agency