World Cancer Day. Photo credit: Format shot it

Roche convened a World Cancer Day Conference in Accra to advance discussions about driving quality, equitable and sustainable cancer care in Ghana through a multi-stakeholder collaboration approach.

This event contributes to the 2022 global World Cancer Day theme, “Close the Care Gap”, which aims to raise awareness of equity gaps in cancer care that affect almost everyone and costs lives.

The conference, held at the Marriott Hotel, Airport City, brought together high-ranking stakeholders from government, the private sector and local hospitals.

This multi-stakeholder event was chaired by the Minister of Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu MP.

The Chairman stated that it is only through multi-stakeholder collaboration that the cancer canker can be addressed in the country.

World Cancer Day. Photo credit: Format shot it

He indicated that government as part of its national health policy looked at progressive public private partnerships that clearly add value to the health of Ghanaians and acknowledged the impactful holistic partnership in cancer care that the Ministry of Health currently has with Roche.

Through a series of remarks and a panel discussion, these speakers, among others, discussed opportunities for innovative and sustainable cancer funding, the value of innovation in cancer control and strategies to implement optimal patient-centred cancer care.

Guest speakers included Dr Lydia Dsane Selby, CEO of the National Health Insurance, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye the Ghana Health Service Director-General and Professor Clegg-Lamptey, Consultant Surgeon at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

The NHIA CEO in her remarks acknowledged the immense role that funding of care ultimately has on cancer management outcomes and the sustainability of it.

She stated in concluding her address ‘ It is my hope that we can all work together to make sure that we have sustainable funding of cancer in the long-term and ensure equity for all in Ghana.

World Cancer Day. Photo credit: Format shot it

According to the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, one of the key factors that will enable Ghana to adequately tackle the cancer menace will be when late-stage diagnosis of cancer is a thing of the past.

According to him, early-stage diagnosis proffers a good opportunity for desired outcomes of care to be achieved and called on all and sundry to collaborate in addressing late-stage diagnosis.

Professor Joe-Nat Clegg-Lamptey, Consultant Surgeon at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, stated that innovation in cancer care has been introduced and integrated into everyday care and has proved to improve health outcomes of patients and improved health system performance.

Whether these innovations are in diagnostics, therapies or processes their value is clear and Ghana should seek to continuously improve through innovation. 

“At Roche, our approach to improving cancer care is rooted in partnership,” said Dr. Philip Anderson of Roche.

"We know that it’s only by working with stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem that we will be able to correct unacceptable inequities in care and strengthen health systems for the future. Convening this conference is one step of many we’ll take to work with our partners to close the care gap for all people in Ghana.”

Roche has long been working to improve oncology care in Ghana. Most recently, through an expanded partnership agreement announced in 2021, Roche has worked with the Ministry of Health to launch new cancer treatment centres at key hospitals in Cape Coast, Ho and Tamale, with the goal of bridging geographic access barriers to quality cancer care; supporting capacity development and training for health care providers; and supporting awareness creation in communities.

This effort builds on a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Roche and the Ministry of Health in 2018 to conduct disease awareness programmes; increase screening to promote early detection; establish centres of excellence; improve diagnostic facilities at treatment centres; train specialists; develop a national cancer registry to better understand the disease burden; and establish national treatment guidelines.

Cancer is one of the most significant public health challenges in Ghana, with more than 24,000 new cases diagnosed in 2020 and more than 15,800 people dying from the disease.

Of all cancers, breast cancer is the most pervasive, accounting for more than 18% of all new cancer cases in 2020, followed by liver cancer, which accounted for more than 14% of all new cancer cases. 

Ghanaians can face numerous challenges during their patient journey, including health, mental, social and financial hurdles. Roche is committed to addressing these barriers to healthcare and the significant unmet need for patients across Africa with a sense of openness and duty of care.

Roche has made a long-term commitment to Ghana and the African continent, and will continue to invest in strengthening health systems and collaborating with partners to implement innovative solutions that are tailored to African countries’ specific needs.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.