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18.11.2008 Health

Kufuor Opens Cancer Unit

By Daily Guide

President John Agyekum Kufuor has cut the sod for the construction of the first phase of a comprehensive cancer care unit in Ghana at Katamanso near Accra.

Sweden Ghana Medical Centre Limited will provide cancer care services using cutting-edge techniques combined with the Scandinavian treatment touch, high productivity and competitive pricing to Ghanaians and people from the West African Sub-region.

The centre that is being constructed in three phases is to be completed in three years at a total cost of $10 million. The first phase would comprise an outpatient centre which will offer specialist consultations, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, ultra sound MRI scanning and pharmacy services among others; while the second phase will bring on board a Gamma-Knife technology for neurosurgery and more advanced radiotherapy.

The third phase will see to the construction of a small hospital equipped with modern standard surgery facilities.

President Kufuor, before breaking the ground for the commencement of work at the centre, noted that the presence of more hospitals offering state-of-the-art treatment in different diseases would enable more Ghanaians to access high quality healthcare.

Government, he said, had made efforts such as securing funds for the upgrading of facilities in the major teaching hospitals but these facilities are inadequate for the treatment of complex forms of the dreadful disease.

Many have fallen victim to the disease, he mentioned, saying a few with resources travel overseas at very great cost to seek treatment, “but even in their case, the survival rate is not impressive.”

He urged the doctors and health professionals to position themselves to take advantage of the emerging opportunities with the establishment of the Sweden Ghana Medical Centre, which is expected to draw on the expertise of international specialists who will work alongside their Ghanaian counterparts, resulting in technology transfer.

He bemoaned the lifestyle of Ghanaians which is increasing the prevalence of diseases like diabetes, hypertension among others; diseases which were quite rare in the country sometime ago.

The President therefore called on Ghanaians to endeavour to lead healthy lifestyles, including observing good dietary habits and undertaking regular exercise in order to avoid the unprintable diseases.

Dr. Brakohiapa of the Faculty of Radiology at the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons also lamented the consumption of fat, alcohol, tobacco and lack of exercise by Ghanaians – habits that cause the commonest type of cancer.

He observed that advanced countries had improved the survival rate of cancer patients through intensive education, early detection and treatment; but this is not the case in our side of the world.

Many patients in Ghana, he said, report too late to the hospital while others erroneously believe that they can receive better care outside the country, and so ignore other alternatives.

Goran Hellers, initiator of the project, was happy that the parent company of the centre which is Swedish with a presence in Cairo, is establishing a branch in Ghana; and promised that his company would deliver its best to serve the people of Ghana and the Sub-region.

He said back home in Sweden, 50,000 cancer cases are reported every year just as Ghana, despite the difference in the populations of the two countries. The total population of that country is about nine million while that of Ghana is about 23 million.

Cautioning that the cases of cancer in Ghana may double considering the growth rate, Mr. Hellers noted that it was important to develop a comprehensive healthcare that is socially friendly for cancer patients.

By Emelia Ennin Abbey