Absorb cost of childhood cancer treatment – Foundation appeals to NHIA
Ghana records an estimated 1,200 cases of childhood cancers every year.
To that end, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dr Robert Mitchell Memorial Foundation (RoMMEF), Mrs Emma Mitchell, has called on the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to absorb the diagnosis and treatment cost of the disease as the world marked International Childhood Cancer Day tomorrow.
That, she said, would help ease the burden on many parents across the country whose children were suffering from the disease.
Mrs Mitchell made the call when she paid a courtesy call on the Director in charge of News at the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mrs Mavis Kitcher, in Accra yesterday.
The call was to afford the foundation the opportunity to partner the GCGL brand of newspapers to push for childhood cancers to be put on the NHIA and also be recognised as a serious disease in the country.
According to Mrs Mitchell, although the disease could be prevented or treated with early detection, many parents still reported to health facilities late due to the cost involved in diagnosis and treatment.
Also, she said, there was limited access to appropriate childhood oncology (cancer care) services, adding that there were also only a few paediatric cancer personnel.
So far, Mrs Mitchell said, the foundation had helped in setting up a Cancer Registry at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, where 20 health officials from different hospitals in the region had been trained.
The former Minister of Trade and Industry, who bowed out in January 1996, said the foundation had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Health to establish cancer registries at the Ho and the Tamale teaching hospitals.
She said setting up cancer registries at the various hospitals would help determine the type of cancers in a particular area for effective treatment, as well as generate the relevant data for research into the disease in the country.
The Public Relations Officer of the foundation, Ms Nana Abena Ahenkan, in a contribution, said the foundation had sponsored the treatment of 12 children with cancers, saying she was encouraged to do more by the statistics that, when detected early, 80 per cent of childhood cancers could be treated.
She appealed to benevolent organisations to support the foundation financially in its quest to support more children to undergo treatment.
Mrs Kitcher, in response to Mrs Mitchell’s request for partnership with the company to create awareness of the early detection of the disease, assured her of the company’s readiness to support the cause of children.
She said the company had, for the past 20 years, through its Junior Graphic brand, been advocating issues that promoted the well-being of children, for which reason it would support the foundation in its quest.
She commended the foundation for being a mouthpiece for childhood cancers since 2008 and said the GCGL would use its brands to help it achieve its quest of ensuring that childhood cancer was placed on the NHIA list.
The Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Kobby Asmah, said the newspaper would “walk shoulder to shoulder with the foundation to achieve the needed results”.
He said it was disheartening that for the past 12 years Mrs Mitchell had been knocking on the doors of people who could make a change in the lives of affected children but she had not had any favourable response.
Present were the editors of The Mirror, Ms Janet Quartey, and the Junior Graphic, Ms Doreen Hammond, both of whom pledged to use their publications to support the advocacy on childhood cancers.