Juilet Akuamoah Boateng (2nd from left), Project Coordinator, World Child Cancer, presenting the shipment document to Dr Anthony Adofo Ofosu (middle), Deputy Director-General, GHS. With them are Emmanuel Ayire Adongo (left), Regional Coordinator, Sub-Saharan Africa, WCC; Dr Marion Okoh-Owusu (2nd from right), Director, Family Health Division, GHS, and Charles Owusu (right), Administrator, Family Health Division, GHS. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
Juilet Akuamoah Boateng (2nd from left), Project Coordinator, World Child Cancer, presenting the shipment document to Dr Anthony Adofo Ofosu (middle), Deputy Director-General, GHS. With them are Emmanuel Ayire Adongo (left), Regional Coordinator, Sub-Saharan Africa, WCC; Dr Marion Okoh-Owusu (2nd from right), Director, Family Health Division, GHS, and Charles Owusu (right), Administrator, Family Health Division, GHS. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI

GHS receives medication for childhood cancer treatment

The government's effort to treat childhood cancer has received a major boost with the donation of 1,510 vials of Amgen's rituximab worth GH¢8 million to the Ghana Health Service for onward distribution to specialist hospitals treating burkitt lymphoma.

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Burkitt lymphoma is one of the four most common childhood cancers which has been included in the benefit package of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Rituximab on the other hand is a critical medication used to treat patients with burkitt lymphoma, with each vial costing GH¢5,000.

This donation was made possible through the joint efforts of the international pharmaceutical company, Amgen, and the Ghana Chapter of World Child Cancer (WCC), a UK-based non-governmental organisation, working in the area of childhood cancer.

The shipment documents covering the 1,510 vials of rituximab, were formally handed over to the Ghana Health Service at a meeting on Friday, May 21.

Donation

The Project Coordinator of WCC, Juliet Akuamoah Boateng, who spoke on behalf of the Country Coordinator, Adwoa Pinamang Boateng Desu, said the donation formed part of several interventions being undertaken by her outfit to support victims of the cancer.

She explained that the donation was to support the government to improve access to essential treatment for children with burkitt lymphoma in the country. 

Emphasising the commitment of WCC towards childhood cancers in the country, she said her organisation had, since commencing its operations in the country in 2010, embarked on capacity-building for healthcare professionals in early warning signs and symptoms of childhood cancer. 

Aside from that, she said WCC had also invested resources in nutritional and psycho-social support for both families and victims. She further commended the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service for their crucial role in absorbing all the four childhood cancers into the benefit package of the NHIS.

Ms Akuamoah Boateng further announced that WCC was awarding scholarships to survivors of childhood cancers to support them from basic school through to the university. 

Commendation

For his part, the Deputy Director-General, Dr Anthony Adofo Ofosu, expressed gratitude to Amgen and WCC for the kind gesture. “Donations such as these go beyond physical relief; it communicates psychosocial support to families and children diagnosed with cancer. Indeed, investing in child health is an integral aspect of Ghana’s roadmap towards attaining universal health coverage by 2030.

“Your donation is indeed timely, as it will complement Ghana’s commitment towards improving the availability of childhood cancer medication for children across all treatment and shared-care centre,” he said.

He added that addressing childhood health issues, especially chronic diseases such as cancers, was crucial since it prevented long-term health complications and reduced future health financing challenges.

In line with that, he said the government had fostered the necessary collaborations with both state and non-state actors to improve child health as one of the key indicators of universal health coverage.

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