First Lady Mrs Lordina Dramani Mahama has promised to support government in ensuring that all cancer patients in Ghana receive adequate treatment. No woman, she added, should die from breast and cervical cancers as a result of lack of treatment or ignorance.
Mrs. Mahama, who is participating in the 7th Stop Cervical Cancer in Africa Conference in Maputo, Mozambique, reminded African leaders and African First Ladies together with development partners that there is no second chance to save the lives of breast and cervical cancer patients.
“This is the time.” She indicated
According to the first lady, women have a higher responsibility than their male counterparts to ensure that they combat the high incidence of breast and cervical cancers. She stressed that women need to commit themselves as leaders to ensure that “no woman dies as a result of lack of preventable programmes or out of ignorance.”
Mrs. Mahama told the conference that Ghana has made significant progress in combating breast cancer, especially in early detection and treatment of breast cancer using clinical breast examination as the mode of breast screening at various facilities and also at family planning centres.
According to her, the Ministry of Health has secured 64,000 doses of the HPV vaccine for a pilot programme. Findings from the pilot exercise, she said, will be used to develop a programme for the entire country.
Government according to her, recently procured and installed a mammogram at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, and that it is government’s policy to replicate this in all hospitals in the country.
The First Lady further told the conference that Ghana has prepared a national cancer registry and a strategic plan for prevention and control of cancers.
In spite of the progress made however, Mrs. Mahama stated that Ghana still encounters some challenges in the fight against breast and cervical cancers. These, she said, include low public awareness about the diseases and their prevention even among medical personnel, late reporting to health facilities, limited resources for screening, shortage of health personnel.
Treatment, she observed, is also expensive and not available in most health facilities across the country.
Mrs. Mahama said that the Government of Ghana is working on a National Policy to increase the number of trained personnel for screening, increase awareness, reduce stigma, mobilise resources, and ensure effective case management, data collation and management.
She assured participants that Ghana Government, under the National Health Insurance Scheme, will continue to ensure timely access to treatment for breast cancer patients.
The conference was co-organized by the Government of Mozambique and the Princess Nikky Breast Cancer Foundation which aims to draw attention to the need to accelerate the implementation of measures to eliminate these diseases.
The conference, held at the Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre was on the theme: “MOVING FORWARD TO SAVE LIVES”, was attended by African First Ladies, Ministers of Health, African Parliamentarians, Scientists, Civil Society Organisations and the HRH Infanta Cristina, Princess of Barcelona, Spain.