1,200 children diagnosed with new cancers nationwide – Experts reveal

Mr. George Achempim, Country Representative of World Child Cancer (WCC) has revealed that a total of 1,200 children have been diagnosed with new cancer related diseases countrywide.

Mr Achempim in an interview with Goldstreet Business in Accra explained that the findings come as a result of a 3-year project being funded by the United Kingdom Government in collaboration with the World Child Cancer in Ghana.

According to him, the project is expected to provide specialist oncology training to 192 pediatricians, nurses and clinicians, whereas 780 healthcare staff across the country will also receive training on early warnings signs.

He said the project has so far held public education on childhood cancers and to build the capacity of health professionals in managing and treatment of childhood cancer cases in the country.

He recommended that early detection of childhood cancers at the community level must be a priority consideration to save the lives of children and adolescents.

‘’No matter where they were born, every child should have equal access to the best possible care and treatment,’’ he added.

Achempim emphasised that, World Child Cancer is committed to addressing the disparity of cancer care for children across the country.

Alarming statistics

Globally, about 250,000 children develop cancer every year, with 80 percent of such cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

Last year, the Childhood Cancer Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital revealed that 30 percent of childhood cancer cases are seen at the treatment centres.

A statement from the hospital also indicated that prevalent childhood cancers were lymphomas, leukemia, eye cancer and kidney cancer which collectively formed over 70 percent of cancers.

It said that total estimates for treating lymphoma is about GHS1,500 for cure, with kidney and eye cancers costing above GHS5,000.

Unfortunately, Ghana’s Cancer Registry is at the rudimentary stage with weak human and technical capacity. Currently, it has only two comprehensive treatment centres; one in Accra and the other in Kumasi.

It is now up to advocacy and awareness creation at the policy level which must be undertaken to include childhood cancer in the benefits package of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah