Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin (with pickaxe) cutting the sod for the start of the project. Looking on is Dr Tanya Maria Trippett (6th from left), Founder of the Wish4Life Foundation, and other dignitaries
Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin (with pickaxe) cutting the sod for the start of the project. Looking on is Dr Tanya Maria Trippett (6th from left), Founder of the Wish4Life Foundation, and other dignitaries

Asikam to get children's cancer research centre

A sod-cutting ceremony has been performed for the construction of a multi-purpose 100-bed international children's cancer research centre at Asikam, near Kyebi, in the Abuakwa South Municipality in the Eastern Region.

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The $250-million project, being spearheaded by the Wish4life Foundation for childhood cancer, is expected to be completed within two years  to improve patient access to beds and quality care at the centre.

The project, which is expected to bring together qualified doctors from abroad and Ghana, is to boost the treatment and care for childhood cancer patients in the various communities in the country and the West Africa sub-region.

The three-storey building will include consulting rooms, wards, a cafeteria, a playroom, meeting rooms, laboratory, places of convenience, washrooms, among others.

It will also come with special wards, private wards, counselling rooms and treatment rooms.

The facility will be constructed with support from donors, including financial institutions, Siemens Healthcare, Elekta, Milliman, Novartis, Bontobox and Ofori Panin Fie.

Increase in cases

At the ceremony at the proposed site at Asikam last Thursday, the Founder of Wish4life, Dr Tanya Maria Trippett, said the objective of the foundation was to overcome the existing healthcare disparity by addressing the needs of children with cancer.

She said through access to essential medical expertise, medicines, supplies, resources and infrastructure support it would be possible to achieve their ultimate goal.

She said the foundation would provide capacity building in partnership with pediatric cancer programmes around the globe.

Dr Trippett, who is also a Pediatric Hematologist Oncologist, indicated that each year, a total of 160,000 children worldwide were diagnosed with cancer, and that these children were the future doctors, nurses, lawyers, architects and global citizens.

She said that each year, a total of 90,000 children died as a result of cancer, especially children in limited resourced nations.

The number of childhood cancer cases hospitals received on a daily basis, Dr Trippett said, increased from 50 to 250 cases, thereby causing a lot of stress on hospital facilities.

She indicated that the centre would be better positioned to help treat childhood cancers in the area and the country as a whole.

"Early detection of cancer in children can guarantee their treatment.

"For children with cancer, you need a certain kind of environment to treat them because they are very vulnerable to infection and other issues,” she stated.

Dr Trippett expressed appreciation to the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, thanked the chiefs and people of Asikam for the warm reception given to the foundation for the cancer facility, and encouraged others to support to help children with childhood cancer in the country.

National attention

The Project Manager of the ICCRC, Rob Fleming, said the organisation was committed to advocating that childhood cancers should receive the national attention that it deserved.

He said the facility would provide specialised medical services as well as improve the quality of care of patients at the centre, explaining “the foundation would continue to make health care more accessible and efficient to all, especially children".

Children to benefit

The Okyenhene, who was highly elated about the establishment of a new international children's cancer research centre, said children in his traditional area would be largely the beneficiaries.

He said buildings, state of the art equipment, laboratory equipment and computers could not treat human beings, especially children suffering from cancer, but rather qualified doctors and nurses committed to doing the work.

Writer's email 
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