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Maritime hospital opens cancer unit

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Ms Sandra Opoku (right), Director of Tema Port, opening the unit, while Mr Michael Luguje and Dr Martha Gyansa-Lutterodt (in suit) look on
Ms Sandra Opoku (right), Director of Tema Port, opening the unit, while Mr Michael Luguje and Dr Martha Gyansa-Lutterodt (in suit) look on

The International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) has opened an oncology unit to treat chronic conditions.

The facility, being run in partnership with Roche, a biotech company, is equipped with infusion pumps to deliver chemotherapy medication to patients on treatment, and patient monitors to take care of breast, cervical and prostate cancer patients, among others.

According to the management of IMaH, the oncology unit would also localise the treatment of cancer in Tema and its environs which had no such facility.

Revised policy

At the inauguration, the Director of Technical Coordination at the Ministry of Health, Dr Martha Gyansa-Lutterodt, indicated that the Korle Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching hospitals alone were recording annual average cancer cases of 1,000, with cervical cancer becoming the leading cause of death among women, particularly since 2018, followed by breast cancer.

She said the high cost of treatment placed an enormous burden on families and countries with low health budgets, including Ghana. 

As such, she said the ministry and its agencies were collaborating with other ministries, departments and agencies to revise the National Health Policy of 2007 into the National Health Policy of 2020 (NHP, 2020) to address the key determinants of health and the risk factors.

Dr Gyansa-Lutterodt stressed that considering the high cost and infrastructural demands associated with the treatment of cancers, the government encouraged initiatives from quasi-government and private entities to adopt initiatives that would enhance healthcare delivery in the country within the framework of the private health sector development policy.

Superior technology

The Chief Executive of IMaH, Dr Sylvester Yaw Oppong, said the superior technology deployed at the hospital had seen a number of minimally invasive procedures such as trans-cervical resection fibroids, complex neuro-surgical procedures to remove advanced brain tumours, endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures being carried out effortlessly.

He said presently, the hospital’s strategic partners, Ares Centre of Excellence, was installing a catheterisation laboratory to undertake advanced minimally invasive cardiac procedures for the prevention and treatment of heart attacks and other potentially fatal heart conditions.

Dr Oppong expressed the hope that the opening of the oncology unit and other existing facilities at the hospital would complement the government’s efforts in providing unique health care to the public.

GPHA mandate

The Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Mr Michael Luguje, pointed out that while the mandate of the authority was to manage the country’s ports, the most efficient way to connect to the communities of the ports was through the provision of health services.

That, he said, informed GPHA’s investments in healthcare facilities in Tema and Takoradi not only to provide services to its workers, but to improve on the quality of life of the larger community.

He tasked the management of IMaH to make inroads into the West African region.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah, commended the management of the hospital for the initiative, saying it would reduce pressure on existing facilities, while providing improved care to persons with chronic diseases.

The Country Director of Roche Products Ghana, Dr Phillip Anderson, said the company would continue to partner the facility to ensure that it became a world-class cancer treatment centre.

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