GMA urges gov’t to establish Radiotherapy center at Tamale Hospital
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on Friday called on the government to speed up the establishment of the third National Radiotherapy and Oncology Center at the Tamale Teaching Hospital for cancer detection.
This would help in the National Strategy for Cancer Control programme to be implemented efficiently.
Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, GMA President, made the call at the opening of the 55th annual general conference of the association, underway at Abesim, near Sunyani in the Western Region.
The four-day conference is on the theme “cancers-emerging trends”.
Dr Opoku-Adusei said statistics at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi revealed that from 2004 to 2011, 4,470 cancer cases had been diagnosed over the period.
They include cervical, breast, ovarian and prostate cancers, he said, adding that, victims fall within the ages of 11 and 22 years.
Dr Opoku-Adusei expressed worry that about 60 per cent of the affected individuals were diagnosed at an advanced stage, when very little could be done for them.
He observed that though the treatment of cervical, breast and prostate cancers were covered under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), investigations leading to their diagnosis are not covered.
Dr Opoku-Adusei stressed the need for the for the Ministry of Health and the GMA to collaborate and establish a national cancer registry, which would provide reliable data for healthcare planning, implementation of intervention programmes and to accelerate the development of national cancer control programmes throughout the country.
On the NHIS, the GMA President said though the scheme was 10 years, it was confronted with series of problems, which needed to addressed for its sustainability.
“Government must tell Ghanaians the policy direction for the capitation, which has been implemented in one region of the country for close to two years with all its problems ”, Dr Opoku-Adusei said.
He emphasized that the dwindling government support for Postgraduate Medical Education in the country was worrisome, as several doctors, who meet the requirements to pursue studies are faced with the challenge of sponsorship.
“It is important for the government to recognize the place of postgraduate medical education in stemming brain drain and improving the quality of healthcare delivery”, Dr Opoku-Adusei added.
Dr Alfred Sugri Tia, Deputy Minister of Health, said the government acknowledged and appreciated the role of the GMA in the provision of healthcare intervention, which had resulted in the improvement of total healthcare delivery.
He said whilst the ministry was working hard to bridge the gab in access to healthcare and ensuring sustainable financial arrangement for the health sector, the GMA needed to work hard to increase productivity.
Dr Tia appealed to the doctors and other key stakeholders to help address the challenges in the NHIS.