Govt urged to provide adequate breast care centres
The Government has been called upon to provide adequate breast care centres across the district and regional levels, for easy access.
Also, the government has been urged to retool health centres with enough treatment machines for breast cancer screening.
The Executive Director of Meena Breast Cancer Foundation, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, made the call at a news conference in Accra recently.
Inadequate infrastructure, he said, had put a lot of pressure on the few doctors and facilities in the country, thereby forcing patients to resort to readily available herbal medicines and treatments.
Subsequently, he appealed to the government to include the cost of biopsy and pathology under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and to make the cost of surgery and chemotherapy free, indicating that the cost covered under the NHIS was too small for breast cancer treatment.
Mr Kwarteng advised stakeholders in the health sector to not overemphasise their energies only in October, as people were getting breast cancer every minute.
“Our background investigations show that breast cancer patients are not given enough counselling and education on lifestyle during treatment.
Most of the patients that come to us complain of not having an idea of what to eat and what not to, what to expect during treatment and so on,” he said.
A Programme Officer at the Ministry of Health, Abena Kumiwa Osei, said the ministry was ready to collaborate with any organisation to bridge the gaps in awareness, access to health care and support for those affected by the disease.
She said it was essential to raise awareness to dispel myths and promote early detection and prevention adding: “Breast cancer does not discriminate, irrespective of your age.”
The Board Member of Meena Breast Cancer, Eric Odei Brobbey, said there should be a proper referral system where patients can report cases of breast cancer.
“Lack of proper referral systems and treatment machines usually delay treatment, causing patients' condition to worsen, since they have to wait for more than a month or two after surgery to access the radiotherapy machine.
Sometimes, even the few machines available break down, leaving patients stranded,” he said.