A non-profit organisation, Lifeline for Childhood Cancer, Ghana (LCCG), on Saturday, held a health walk at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to raise more awareness and campaign against childhood cancer in Accra.
The LCCG provides treatment and care for children with cancer, and this is part of activities lined up for this year, 2019 World Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
The 7.2-kilometre walk, which was led by a brass band and the Ghana Police, started around 7:00am from Korle Bu through some nearby suburbs, including Mamprobi, Laterbiokorshie, Kaneshie and Abossey-Okai, and Mortuary Road, ended at about 9:30am.
Other activities lined up are blood donation and health screening at the Achimota Mall, blood donation & health screening at the Accra Mall, and a fund raising dinner to support childhood cancer treatment.
Aside from raising funds for child cancer victims and their families, the LCCG has also been involved in various campaigns of this nature, advocating for the need for parents and families to seek early treatment, since child cancer is curable.
The LCCG is dedicated to making childhood cancer control a national health priority, providing support to families affected by it, creating awareness about the cancer among health workers and the general public, and increasing access to optimal treatment for a cure.
Akua Sarpong, Executive Secretary of LCCG, in an interview, underscored the critical need to create awareness about childhood cancer among health workers and the general public, as well as increasing access to optimal treatment to cure cancers.
She revealed that a report by the LCCG revealed that about 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year.
Approximately 80 percent of the world’s children with cancer live in low middle-income countries, where more than 80 percent die of the disease.
“In Ghana, even though there is no comprehensive epidemiological data on the magnitude of childhood cancer, it is estimated that about one in 500 children will be affected by 15 years of age.
“…This is according to evaluation data from more developed countries. Hence, with Ghana’s over 24 million, it is expected that about 1,000 children below 15 years of age [would] be affected yearly. Most cancers, frequently seen at the Paediatric Cancer Unit, are lymphomas, leukemia, kidney cancers, eye cancers, and others,” Akua Sarpong revealed.
So far, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi are the only medical institutions having comprehensive Paediatric Cancer units, with about 300 cases seen yearly in total by the two centers.
Due to the expensive nature of the treatment processes and drugs, childhood cancer has often led to huge financial burdens on families, and in most cases, the deaths of infants.