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Diaspora News | Nov 28, 2004

New Australian Charity Gives Hope to Ghana’s Cancer Kids

Susan Elliott

Countless African children will be saved from blindness and possible death, thanks to a new Australian charity. Kids with Eye Cancer Association (KWECA) have been launched by Australian resident, Ms Judith Killen, in association with Ghanaians living in Australia and doctors at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.

The new charity has been established to help children in Ghana suffering from the life-threatening eye cancer Retinoblastoma - a malignant tumor which develops from the immature retina, the part of the eye responsible for detecting light and color. KWECA will set up an early detection and treatment program to help Ghanaian children save their sight and their lives. Currently, late detection of Retinoblastoma in Ghana means a survival rate of only about 5%. “Detection of Retinoblastoma soon after birth may be the only chance babies have of surviving,” Ms Killen said.

“Retinoblastoma is usually fatal but early diagnosis and modern methods of treatment can dramatically improve the survival rate to over 90%.” KWECA is working with the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra which will help coordinate the Charity's projects.

In addition to early detection and treatment programs, KWECA plans to:

- recruit and train a research team

- set up a data collection system

- implement a screening procedure for those at a risk of hereditary retinoblastoma

- improve community health education through radio, television and print campaigns.

KWECA is currently seeking personal and corporate donations to help fund its work and also welcomes the support of new members.

For information on this disease and the work of KWECA please visit www.kweca.org or email KWECA at [email protected]

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