Otiko Afisah Djaba (2nd left) inaugurating the board
Minister of Gender, Children & Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba, has inaugurated a 16-member breast and cervical cancers board.
Per its mandate, the board is expected to design and implement advocacy programmes to create awareness on breast and cervical cancers and to solicit funding from the public, corporate bodies, development partners and other international philanthropists to supplement government’s efforts to curtail the impact of cancer nationwide.
Its members include Dr Beatrice Wiafe-Addai, who is to serve as chairperson; Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Gifty Mensah, Bernice Adjei, Martha Adwoa Essien, Dr Charity Binka, Dr Kingsley Nyarko, Rev Isaac Kwaku Fokuo, Prophet Isaac Owusu Bempah, Atta Addy Abban Offei, Dr Joyce Aryee, Cynthia Baffour, Ekua Annan, Dr Tony Opoku Agyeman, Osei Boakye, Dr Baffour Awuah and Sibaway Zakariya.
“It is our anticipation that the board will be effective in helping the country’s effort towards reducing the impact of the disease,” Madam Afisah Djaba said in her inaugural speech on Monday, April 9, in Accra.
She also inaugurated the Gender Ministry’s nine-member advisory board on the day.
According to her, the ministry had became aware of the effects of cancer and “we have, therefore, made some attempts at addressing them.”
“The ministry from 2008-2013 had an interim committee with specialist doctors and some NGOs as partners to brainstorm on how to coordinate at managing breast and cervical cancers nationwide,” she said.
Making reference to GLOBOCAN survey reports on cancers globally and domestically, she said in 2016, there was an annual estimated incidence rate of breast cancer at 25.8 percent cases per 100,000 women and mortality rate at 15.2 percent deaths per 100,000 women.
She explained that nearly 70 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Ghana are in advanced stages of the disease due especially to low awareness, resulting in limited treatment success and high death rate.
“Counselling centres are virtually non-existent in all regions of the country and our hospitals have limited facilities. This situation denies most women access to early detection and quality healthcare. It is a challenge in our drive to save lives and promote the general wellbeing of women,” Madam Afisah Djaba mentioned.
Thus, she indicated that beginning with the 54th phase of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) payment, the ministry, in partnership with an NGO, would organise free cancer, diabetes screenings for beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, Dr Aryee, founder of the Salt & Light Ministry and member of the board, urged government to consider including cancer on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
BY Melvin Tarlue