Let’s support hostel facility for childhood cancer patients

BY: Severious Kale-Dery
Dr Kwame Aveh, the National Chairman of the GHAPACC (with hand raised) explaining a point to Dr John Ahenkorah, a member of the association at the uncompleted building
Dr Kwame Aveh, the National Chairman of the GHAPACC (with hand raised) explaining a point to Dr John Ahenkorah, a member of the association at the uncompleted building

Looking from afar, the  pains of children suffering from cancer as they go  through  chemotherapy  at the hospital and how they look helpless after going through a treatment session is something you will not wish for even your enemy.

After the treatment session, the anguish and frustration of  parents of these children as they convey such children safely to a resting place for subsequent treatment sessions is enough to get a parent crazy.

No wonder there is high statistics of discontinuation of treatment after a few visits to the hospital, thereby leaving such children to their fate.

The truth is that the affected families do not abandon treatment because they have given up on their children but due to accessibility challenges and funding.

According to the Ghana Parents’ Association for Childhood Cancer (GHAPACC), some of the parents abandon treatment because of lack of affordable accommodation and the difficulty in transporting such children regularly  to and from the hospital.  

The naked reality is that childhood cancer patients are delicate to handle and require special care, especially when they are going through the chemo and that explains why such children are not mixed up with other children suffering from other illnesses.

The hostel

And so, it is unacceptable for such children to be exposed to more dangers by sitting with them in public vehicles  because of the distance the parents have to cover from where they  got  accommodation.

To improve treatment outcomes and lessen the stress faced by the parents/guardians, providing accommodation has become an urgent call in support of children undergoing treatment and their parents.

It is based on the above reasons that there is an urgent call to support the GHPACC to construct a 32-bedroom hostel facility at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for parents of childhood cancer.  

This will  relieve parents of the hustle they often have to go through for a decent accommodation as they support their children to go through treatment.

The two-storey hostel, when completed, will ease the stress on parents with children suffering from cancer.

Surely, this is a laudable project that deserves support by all well-meaning Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians alike, as the project seeks to address a critical issue that stands as a bottleneck between the lives of potentially useful Ghanaians — Children — and death.

 Currently, GHAPACC, which is an association of parents of children diagnosed with cancers and other life threatening blood disorders; health professionals involved in caring for such children; and survivors of childhood cancers, has been able to complete the ground floor and is currently at the first floor level.

The total cost of the hostel project is estimated at the equivalent of $750,000. Surely, this cannot be achieved by GHAPACC without the support of benevolent organisations and individuals like you and me who also believe in the worthy cause of saving the lives of those children.

First Lady

It is gratifying to learn that the association had  generous support from the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, which played a critical role in ensuring that the ground floor was completed and the first-floor raised to a level.

Surely, the First Lady deserves applause but I believe that since she has associated herself with the project, it will not be out of place for her to use her good office to rally support for the completion of the project.

I believe this should be a project that should be named after her, as one of the landmark projects to have undertaken during her tenure as a First Lady.

Am sure members of the association will write her name in gold and diamond on the hostel after completion in recognition for her valuable contribution towards its completion and also for her concern for not only children, but the vulnerable ones in the society.

The National Chairman of the GHAPACC, Dr Kwame Aveh, himself a parent who lost his son to childhood cancer, and is devoting his time and resources to pushing the association believes that the time for Ghanaians to prioritise the welfare of children by supporting the projects is now.

Today, it is Dr Aveh who lost Alorm, ‘Prof’ as the son was affectionately called, to childhood cancer, tomorrow it could be you or your relative.

The Holy Book

The good book — Holy Bible talks about doing good, especially to those you do not expect a return. The Quran makes it mandatory and indeed, it is part of the seven pillars in Islam.

Thankfully, the Christian and Muslim population in Ghana should hover around 90 per cent. And so, if the two religions talk extensively about supporting the less privileged, why is this project at a standstill?

 Let’s assume that the teeming Christians and Muslims in the country are not aware of this project.

 Well, I am telling the two heavyweights to rally their supporters to donate generously towards the completion of this project.

With an Account name and number as the Ghana Parents’ Association for Childhood Cancers (GHAPACC) and  0010084421904201 respectively of the Ridge branch of the Ecobank Ghana, the association is appealing to the general public, corporate Ghana and public-spirited individuals to donate generously to ensure early completion of the project to save the lives of children suffering from those diseases.

“Kitiwa bia nsoa” is a popular saying in fund-raising that fits perfectly in this case because the little everyone puts there can complete the project in no time.