Lifeline for Childhood Cancer Ghana launched
As part of efforts to create awareness about childhood cancer among health workers and the general public as well as increase access to optimal treatment to cure cancers, Lifeline for Childhood Cancer Ghana has been launched.
Lifeline for Childhood Cancer, Ghana (LCCG) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide treatment and care of children with cancer aside raising funds for the victims and their families.
Children with cancer will also benefit from effective palliative care through the foundation.
According to report by the LCCG, 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year. Approximately 80 per cent of the world’s children with cancer live in low middle-income countries where more than 80 per cent die of the disease.
In Ghana, even though there is no comprehensive epidemiological data on the magnitude of childhood cancers, it is estimated that about 1 in 500 children will be affected by 15 years of age.
This is according to evaluation data from more developed countries.
Hence with Ghana’s over 24 million, it is expected that about 1,000 children below 15 years of age be affected yearly.
Most cancers, frequently seen at the Paediatric Cancer Unit, are lymphomas, leukaemia, kidney cancers, eye cancers and others.
Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi are the only hospitals having comprehensive Paediatric Cancer Units with about 300 cases are seen yearly in total by the two centers.
Speaking at the launch, Member of the Board Trustees, Professor Lorna Awo Renner, made an appeal to government to include Childhood cancer drugs on the National Health Insurance Scheme due to the expensive nature of the treatment processes.
“In Ghana because of the cost and because we don’t have enough health cancers centers more than 70 per cent of our children are not even able to go to a center for treatment, and when they get to the centres the parents have to pay out of pockets and unfortunately because of this some of the children are denied treatments because their families go back because they cannot afford to pay for the drugs.”
“I’m pleading with health authorities that they should put childhood cancers at least the selected ones that are easily curable on health insurance, these include kidney cancers, eye cancers and lymphomas.” She added
She also urged government to support childhood cancers by establishing high-quality diagnostic treatment facilities and to train health workers on the pre-service and in-service to ensure early detection and treatments.