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22.01.2016 Feature Article

Proposal:   “Declaration Of Father’s Day As National Prostate Cancer Day In Ghana”

Proposal:   “Declaration Of Father’s Day As National Prostate Cancer Day In Ghana”
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Proposal: “Declaration of Father’s Day as National Prostate Cancer Day in Ghana”

Raphael Nyarkotey Obu: ND,MSc, PhD Candidate(IBAM Academy, India)

Prostate cancer policy maker, Researcher, Consultant, Columnist & Registered Integrative Medical Practitioner (TMPC)

On Behalf of the Trustees of Men’s Health Foundation Ghana

23-11-2015

The Minister of Health

Accra

Dear Sir/Madam

PROPOSAL : DECLARATION OF FATHER’S DAY AS NATIONAL PROSTATE CANCER DAY IN GHANA

I write as directed by the president of the republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama as per the letter from the office of the president dated the 14th September, 2015, ref no: ops 336/1vol.3/15/1138 on the above proposal which was sent to the presidency for consideration. The president, by the reply has asked the Men’s Health Foundation Ghana to present the proposal to the ministry for consideration. Please find attached a copy of the letter from the office of the President and some photocopies of our publications in the national papers and pictures of our work in our project zero prostate cancer in Ghana-Transforming the future of prostate cancer in Ghana by 2025.

Brief Profile

This proposal is made on behalf of the men’s charity. Men’s Health Foundation Ghana is the biggest men’s health charity in Ghana, established in the year 2013 with the broad aim to raise awareness, provide relevant information to men diagnosed with prostate cancer and research locally into prostate diseases. The men’s charity is a member of the Global Prostate Cancer Alliance Network. The vision of the men’s charity is to drastically reduce the prostate cancer mortality rate by 2025. The charity is based in Dodowa, Matetse-Akoto House.

Objective

1. Information and advocacy on prostate disease in church men’s fellowships, men clubs, schools, television, radio etc.

2. Raising awareness across the country through activities, special events and annual campaigns like “Be a Man” in March, “Stand by Your Man” in May, “Father’s Day Fun Walk” in June, “Men’s Health Fair and Fundraising” in September which is celebrated as prostate cancer awareness monthly globally.

3. Educating and researching in prostate diseases in Ghana.

4. Organizing extensive free prostate cancer screening in Ghana.

Our vision as a foundation is to raise awareness to drastically curb the rise of prostate disease in Ghana by 2025.

Our vision is engraved in the Agenda;

Zero Prostate Cancer Project in Ghana - Transforming the future of Prostate Cancer

In order to achieve this vision we have outlined the following goals to be met before 2025;

1. Significantly more men will survive Prostate Cancer, about 80% of the affected through the education and awareness created by Men’s Health Foundation.

2. Society will understand the key facts about prostate cancer in Ghana and will act on that knowledge.

3. Ghanaian men and women will know more about Prostate Cancer and will act on that knowledge. The women will also understand the need to stand by their men.

4. Inequalities in access to high quality prostate cancer services will be totally reduced.

5. People affected by prostate cancer will have their information and support needs addressed effectively through the introduction of our Cancer Psychology services.

Men’s Health Foundation aims to fight prostate cancer on every front

Interventions

The charity and Dr Nyarkotey introduced the use of the mobile ultrasound and PSA as part of the prostate checking in the country using the local churches, corporate institutions and the communities.

The founder, Dr, Nyarkotey took it upon himself to write weekly columns and features for both newspapers and online sites on prostate world on Fridays in the Weekend Sun, the Herald, Daily Democrat, Weekend Finder, the Briefing Newspaper, Today Newspaper, Newstatesman and Modernghana

The Men’s charity also established the first prostate research lab and men’s clinic in the country to address the issues of men’s health. The men’s charity also introduces a television program on men’s health to start showing on Amansan Televison to address men’s health issues.

The men’s charity also offered free prostate health check at the men’s clinic on every Saturday.

The charity also partnered Akona School of Psychosocial Counseling Ghana to train psychosocial counselors on psychosocial oncology to enable them provide counseling to men diagnosed with prostate cancer

The charity provides expert talk to tertiary institutions, corporate institution, churches etc on prostate disease.

Future Projects

  • Establishing Prostate screening center in all the regions in the country
  • Establishing an integrative cancer center in the country
  • Establishing an alternative medical college in the country
  • Research into alternative and herbal Medicines and prostate cancer treatment.
  • Training of Health professionals in integrative approach to prostate cancer management
  • Establishing Men’s Health TV, Men’s Health Newsletter and Men’s Health Radio to educate Men on health matters
  • Training of prostate cancer community champions to help the fight.

Prostate Cancer Disease situation in the Country

Hon. Minister, for every disease, there is a country where it does not exit. Prostate cancer is more peculiar to the black communities and black ancestry is a key risk factor. There are lots of disparities when it comes to the subject prostate cancer! It is hitting black men very hard! 1 in 5 Ghanaian men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime (MHFG 2015).According to the Prostate Cancer UK” 1 in 4 Black Men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.

In Ghana, the mortality rate for prostate cancer is very high, but too many men -- an estimated 800 this year out of the 1,000 men diagnosed -- will die from this disease, and even more are at risk

Klufio 2004 conducted a retrospective analysis of the frequency and pattern of genitourinary (GU) cancers seen at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, in Accra, between 1980 and 1990. According to this study, Prostate cancer accounted for 349/479 GU cancers in males (81.4 percent). The GLOBOCAN 2002 database (compiled by Ferlay et al. for the International Agency for Research on Cancer) provides the following data for prostate cancer in Ghana: Estimated number of new cases per year: 921. Estimated number of deaths per year is 758. This clearly shows the high prostate cancer mortality rate in the country.

A publication by myjoyonline on August 03, 2012 stated that almost 1,000 Ghanaian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and yet many are unaware that they have this form of cancer. Also on Aug 7 2007, GNA - Ghana has exceeded global prostate limits as the country records 200 cases out of every 100,000 men as against 170 world-wide, a survey by the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital revealed.

Recently, Citi FM reported that the urological problems in this country are serious. According to the report, there are more than 400 men who are wearing catheters who come every three to four weeks to have it changed at Korle Bu.

Why the Need for Father’s Day as a National Prostate Cancer Day in Ghana

Hon. Minister, There is a blight upon this country called prostate cancer, affecting lot of men, and that is why the Men’s Health Foundation Ghana sent the proposal to the president of the republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama to lead us from this blight. The President being a man saw the need of this proposal we sent to him as a very significant one and he has recommended the charity to present this proposal to the Ministry of Health for consideration.

Hon. Minister, we need the father’s day as a National Prostate Cancer day in Ghana, partly because, black men have the highest risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer and also have the highest prostate cancer mortality rates. There are two predominant theories as to why African men have a higher risk of prostate cancer: genetics and healthcare access. Some doctors believe that genetics play an important role; others believe that limited access to quality healthcare is to blame. A third theory exists: some doctors believe that a traditional diet which is high in saturated fat causes the higher prostate cancer risk. However, the diets of Ghanaians have higher levels of fat than the diets of men of any other nationality.

The most widely-accepted theory of increased prostate cancer risk in men of African descent is an amalgamation of the first and second theories. Genetics (due to melanin levels in the skin) may predispose black men, while limited access to quality healthcare does not catch the disease in earlier stages and does not get these men the best possible treatment.

Hon. Minister of Health, with our vision as men’s charity, to drastically reduce the prostate cancer mortality rate by 2025, the charity has proposed the father’s day to be recognized as National Prostate Cancer Day in Ghana. This year father’s day was regarded as one that was widely celebrated partly because more emphasis was placed on men’s health especially on the subject prostate cancer.

The daily heritage in the editorial on the 22 June 2015 supported the call by the Men’s Health Foundation Ghana to recognize the father’s day as national prostate cancer day. In the editorial, according to the paper, “One organization which also embarked on an inimitable programme to commemorate the day was Men’s Health Foundation, Ghana (MHFG).

MHFG in collaboration with Amansan Television launched a national prostate cancer awareness campaign as part of Fathers’ Day celebration in Ghana to create awareness about the deadly disease.

Under the theme ‘do it for dad campaign,’ the initiative aimed at encouraging men, women, the media, philanthropists, churches and corporate entities across the country to observe Fathers’ Day as Prostate Cancer Awareness Day in honor of prostate cancer survivors and those still battling the disease. The MHFG is thus, advocating that the celebration of Fathers’ Day in Ghana be declared a National Prostate Cancer Day to encourage regular check-ups.

The DAILY HERITAGE sees the call as a worthy one, considering the fact that prostate cancer is indeed a silent killer.

We wish to urge our able men who are 35 and above to cultivate the habit of regular check-ups to ascertain their Prostate Cancer status- since it is medically known that the earlier the diagnoses the easier the treatment the editorial conducted.

The editorial of Today Newspaper on the 01-09-2014 also supported the call on specific prostate cancer policy for Ghanaian men

“For us at Today, we strongly think that Ghanaian men deserve better treatment and information regarding prostate cancer. And it is along this line that we are joining hands with MHFG to call for more health professionals to be trained in prostate cancer to provide men affected by the disease in the country.

We therefore call on the ministry of health to champion such a policy and include it on the list of diseases that fall under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Also in the editorial of the Today Newspaper, Daily Democrat and the Newstatesman also charged the government to wake up on prostate cancer on the 04-02-2015 marked as the world cancer day.

Father’s day marked in June in Ghana is celebrated on a low note in Ghana and since the disease affect men and more men are not aware of the disease, the charity believe that recognizing the father’s day as a National Prostate Cancer day in Ghana will go a long way to help inform men about the disease. This project will also provide a better platform for the government to let the general public aware of the effort the government is taken to help in raising awareness of the disease among men and for the first of its kind in the history of the country for a concerned government to tackle men’s health issue.

Increased awareness can help these men make informed choices about their health. While the exact causes of prostate cancer remain unknown, medical research has identified well-established risk factors with which men should be familiar, including age, family history, and race. If this is considered, and given government backing, during father’s day in the country, media houses, churches, corporate institutions et al will incorporate prostate cancer checks, expert talk, walks etc on the disease to help raise awareness on the disease. Women, wives, children and loved ones will therefore advise their men to go for prostate check. During this year father’s day when we introduced the concept and organized a free screening project with ATV, the charity more women and children coming along with men to have their prostate check

Men’s Health Foundation Ghana and the government will use the occasion to, encourage all men, especially those at higher risk, to talk with their doctors about how prostate cancer could affect them.

The men’s charity continues to raise awareness, invest in future critical research to help better prevent this disease and treat it with fewer side effects, and to further our understanding of the disproportionate impact prostate cancer has on black men.

The month of September brought prostate cancer into focus and is globally celebrated as prostate cancer awareness month. This year, the men’s health foundation team carried out lots of activities in the country to help raise awareness on prostate cancer. The charity introduced the Ghana Prostate Cancer awareness campaign to speed up the fight on the disease. We visited some selected media houses as we believed that media houses play a critical role in the fight against prostate cancer. Some of the media house we visited and provided expert talk includes; The Ghanaian Times Corporation, the Newstatesman, Today Newspaper, Daily Democrate, Metro TV, TV Africa, GTV and ATV.

We also visited some selected churches such as Star of the Sea Catholic Church at Dansoman and Kwashiman Presby Church. We also pay a visit to the physically challenged association in Somanya, Ghana National Pensioners association in Somanya and Ghanata Senior High School. We were also at the Mawums Quarry in Shai Hills to engage the workers. The campaign was sponsored by the Christian Community Microfinance Limited and we gave 10,000 literatures on prostate cancer.

We bring to the public the result of our findings from our awareness. This large scale study, was purposely conducted, to discover more about the public’s knowledge, awareness and attitudes towards health, prostate cancer and Men’s Health Foundation Ghana

We place a particular focus on groups of interest, e.g. men at higher than average risk of prostate cancer (men over 50, Ghanaian men as men of Black origin and more prone to prostate cancer and men with a family history of the disease in a father or brother), people who know someone with prostate cancer, and how the picture of prostate cancer in the country look like from the electronic media.

The study employed a questionnaire approach involving a large scale questions we asked as part of the expert talk on the awareness month with representative sample of Ghanaian men adults (n=4,000), together with three focus groups prior to the survey and four focus groups following the survey.

General awareness on Prostate Cancer in Ghana

30% of Ghanaians know someone who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer

Only 2% of Ghanaian men could identify where the prostate gland is located

Only 1% of Ghanaian men know what the prostate does

90% of Ghanaian men have never heard of the PSA test

About 95% of Ghanaian men don’t know that the PSA is not prostate cancer test because the test is not specific to tumor.

About 96% also thought that a once prostate check is all that is needed

97% of Ghanaian men thought that is a taboo to have the prostate gland and they don’t know that the prostate gland is the man’s powerhouse

98% of Ghanaians don’t know the difference between prostate cancer and other prostate conditions such as BPH and prostatitis

Risk factor awareness

Age - Only 20% of Ghanaians know that being aged 50 and over increases a man's risk of developing prostate cancer

Family history - Only 45% of Ghanaians know that having a family history of prostate cancer increases a man's risk of developing prostate cancer

Ethnicity - Only 2% of Ghanaians know that Black ethnicity increases a man's risk of developing prostate cancer

90% of Ghanaians men and being Black men would like to know more about prostate cancer risk factors and why black men are more prone to prostate cancer

About 99.99% of Ghanaian men don’t know that the skin color-black is the problem as vitamin D has a direct role to play in the fight against prostate cancer. Our skin is unable to absorb the right amount of vitamin D from the sunlight. The darker the skin, the lower the vitamin D level, and the higher your risk of prostate cancer, and the aggressiveness of the disease after prostate cancer diagnosis.

Almost 100% of Ghanaian men who check their Vitamin D level after the expert talk have low level of Vitamin D and they were amazed.

Men at higher than average risk of prostate cancer

99% of Ghanaian men at higher than average risk of prostate cancer do not classify their own risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer as 'higher than average'.

93% of Ghanaian men with a family history of prostate cancer in a father or brother.

99% of Ghanaian men don’t also know that having a family history of breast cancer also put you at risk of prostate cancer.

Attitudinal Change in Ghanaian towards Prostate Cancer

More importantly, 99% Ghanaian men at higher than average risk of prostate cancer told us that even if they were aware that they were at a higher than average risk of cancer, but didn’t have any symptoms, they would have their prostate check once a year even if their organizations refused to organize the screening program to them.

More organizations have seen the need to organized programs on prostate health to the men

The women are also concerned about their men’s prostate health and are urging the men to go for prostate check

On Herbal Medicines and Prostate cancer management in Ghana

90% of Ghanaians heard about prostate cancer through the radio and TV from herbal practitioners but don’t know that there is currently no evidence of any herbal medicine to cure prostate cancer in Ghana. The vulnerable patients are only move by the advertisement from this media houses before regretting later on.

On Prostate Cancer Treatments on the NHIS

Almost 100% of men said that it is time for the NHIS to include prostate cancer treatment and screening program.

On Prostate Cancer and Relationship

Almost 100% of the women don’t know that prostate cancer treatment can affect their men fertility. About 90% of Men diagnosed with prostate cancer don’t have an open communication with their wives partly because the treatment affect their manhood and are afraid that it might create a problem in the house during the night. However, the women want their men to tell them everything during their prostate cancer journey.

Special center for Men’s Health

For once, the men are happy that there is a special facility for men’s health in the country and they find this beneficial to express their problem including sexual issues established by the Men’s Health Foundation Ghana at Dodowa-Akoto House.

How the Declaration Should Be Done

The Men’s charity wants the declaration should be done in February 2016 during the World Cancer day activities and then in June during the father’s day the government and in collaboration with the men’s charity can organize a free prostate check for men as part of presidential initiative on free prostate screening and as we come together to raise awareness about prostate cancer, we remember those we lost to this disease. We will support the patients who continue to battle this cancer each day and the families who stand by their side, and recognize the tireless work of our Nation's health care providers, researchers, and advocates.

Now, Men’s Health Foundation Ghana, as the biggest men’s health charity in Ghana, we will encourage all Ghanaians, corporate institutions, men’s club, media etc to use the father’s day celebrated as National Prostate Cancer Awareness day, to encourage all citizens, government agencies, private businesses, non-profit organizations, and other groups to join in activities that will increase awareness and prevention of prostate cancer. Cancer is cause by lack of government will power to fight the disease and it will provide the government to tell the people of Ghana their plans in fighting against cancer in the country. In the UK, the government introduced the be clear on cancer program for black men who are 45years who are concerned about prostate cancer to help raise awareness and offer free prostate check for those concerned about the disease under the prostate cancer risk management program. The men’s charity believes Ghanaian men deserve better treatment for prostate cancer.

The National Health Insurance Authority and Prostate Cancer

As part of our campaign and advocacy, we believe that the NHIS should incorporate free prostate check for men 40years and above and men 35years who have family history of the disease once a year. We also believe that more options for quality, affordable health coverage should be available and new protections should be in place, expanding access to life-saving care for millions of Ghanaian men, including those impacted by prostate cancer. The NHIS should no longer deny men treatment for prostate cancer. However, men diagnosed with prostate cancer should be given the opportunity to make their informed decision on the type of treatment they find it right for them based on the stage of the cancer as the quality of treatment and care men received also depends on where men leave.

Even as we continue the urgent work of improving care, too many lives will be disrupted and too many families will experience the pain of prostate cancer. But we must remain steadfast in our commitment to ease the burden of this disease, and every day we must continue to work toward a future free from cancer in all its forms.

Who We Are: Men’s Health Foundation Ghana

The men’s health foundation Ghana, this year introduced the Ghana prostate cancer awareness campaign project which was sponsored by the Christian Community Microfinance Limited and supported by the Daily Democrate, Amansan Television and Today Newspaper. The campaign was used to help raise awareness on the disease.

For Men’s Health Foundation Ghana; we are men united fighting Prostate Cancer, Our Manhood at a time.

Prostate cancer is a central issue to men's health, with unacceptably high mortality in black men.

Breast cancer strikes 1 in 10 black women yet they have a mammogram to save lives.

Prostate cancer strikes 1 in 4 black men yet no screening test, so where is our manogram to save our lives? Prostate cancer is more common than breast cancer.

Early detection 100% survival in 5yrs, late diagnosis 28% survival in 5years.

Survival rate also depends on where men leave

Prostate cancer kills a man every 18 minutes

Prostate cancer discriminates 250% deadly in black men and likely to die when diagnosed.

It’s about men! It’s about prostate cancer. We need accurate diagnostic tool like the mammogram

Let us raise little David high enough to challenge Goliath, challenge the System and challenge the status quo-The PSA Test!

The cure for cancer is not a luxury, it is a human need. No man should use this need to profit for their personal gains. Something is wrong when we let people die for money

Men’s Health Foundation Ghana, We stand for the end of disease, the end of suffering.

We fit in this world as men, of all kinds, shapes and sizes.

We share one important value.

In this noisy world, we want you to hear the truth.

We want to be clear what being diagnosed with cancer is about.

We honor a great patient…that’s who we are…that’s what we are about.

We honor ourselves and those who love us, those who take care of us, those who only know us from these

Our core value is that we believe truth comes from experience.

We believe that people want to end cancer, and help us fight Prostate Cancer.

We honor those people…people who are living and those who are dead.

Those who use their brains and resources to end cancer.

So I can live better.

So I can keep enjoying life.

All of us keep enjoying life.

We are pushing for father’s day as a national prostate cancer day in Ghana to enable awareness

May everyone be happy!

May there never be a disharmony in anywhere in the prostate

May our prostate be healthy

May we leave long like the Okinawan’s and the Hunza’s without prostate diseases!

May we never sleep on duty because of prostate cancer treatment which affects our sex life?

May we reclaim our Manhood as Men!

We are Men United fighting against prostate cancer.

Hon. Minister, Sharing this life-saving clinical information and practice would be our great joy. We hope next year father’s day in Ghana would officially be declare National Prostate Cancer Day in Ghana, this will give the government a very positive sign of the first of its kind, a government in Ghana has shown concerned to fight cancer in this country and especially on men’s health as the men are the working force in this country. This will let Ghanaians know about the government changing lives and transforming Ghana project.

Our Board of Directors.

Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu: ND,MSc, PhD Candidate

President and founder

Dr. Edward Boakye-Urologist

Director

Dr. Anita Asare: MD

Director

Mr. Daniel Opare

Press Advisor

Mr. Daniel Ato Keelson

Chairman

Yvonne Dzifa Bedi: BSc Business Administration (Accounting Option), ICA 1

For further information please kindly contact the following numbers on

0500106570/0541090045/0541234556

We look forward to your response.

Yours in health and freedom,

Dr. Nyarkotey

Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, ND, MSc, PhD (C) President

Men’s Health Foundation Ghana

Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, PhD
Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, PhD, © 2016

Prof Raphael Nyarkotey Obu is an honorary professor of holistic medicine-Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Ukraine and the President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine, Tema Community 7, Post office. Column: RaphaelNyarkoteyObu

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