Kumasi, Jan. 21, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday inaugurated the second Radiotherapy Centre for the treatment of cancer in the country at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi. The first Centre is at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based in Vienna, Austria, has so far contributed over five million dollars to cover radiotherapy equipment, staff training and services of experts for the KATH Centre while the Government provided 8.4 billion cedis to complete the building of the Centre, which began in 1996.
The Chinese Government provided an initial support of 200,000 dollars towards the Centre.
President Kufuor appealed to health professionals at the Centre to make optimum use of the equipment and intensify their public education on cancer to help save the lives of some of the patients, who reported there for special care.
He said statistics available at the Centre indicated that cancer of the cervix tops the first 10 cases presented with breast cancer being the second, however, it was reassuring that a third of potential cancer cases could be averted by proper education on how to avoid getting the disease.
"The level of fatalities can be minimised through early detection and appropriate measures to prevent its spread. The Korle-Bu Radiotherapy Centre has been able to help with early detection of the disease, which has reduced the incidence of cancer-induced deaths significantly", he said.
President Kufuor said with the completion of the Centre, the stock of modern equipment at the Hospital had improved and enhanced prospects of more efficient diagnosis and treatment of cancer in particular which depended to a large extent on radiotherapy.
"This I am sure is a welcome relief to all of us especially given the current statistics on the cancer disease", he said.
President Kufuor pledged the Government's commitment to give the Health Sector priority attention and would continue with the ongoing infrastructure development at the country's teaching hospitals, regional, district hospitals as well as some clinics and health posts.
He commended the IAEA for their tremendous contribution towards improving health care delivery in Ghana; "my prayer is that the authorities and staff of KATH will continue to work hard and put the expensive equipment to good use to make this Centre a place of good hope for all those who come here in despair".
Dr Mohammed El-Baradei, Director-General of the IAEA, said their contribution towards the establishment of the two Centres were their contribution to humanity to help the handicapped in a most compassionate way.
He said a new action plan had been developed to offer more assistance to Ghana and gave the assurance that the IAEA would endeavour to continue with its cooperation with Ghana.
Ghana was the third African country south of the Sahara to become a member of the IAEA in September 1960 and had since benefited from the IEAE's Technical Cooperation Projects including financial support of more than 123 million dollars.