The First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akuffo-Addo, yesterday cut the sod for the construction of a GH¢2million, 30-bed hostel facility to house children with cancers and their parents at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) during treatment.
The ground-breaking which marked the observance of the International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) in Accra was done on a land donated to the Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancer (GHAPACC) by the KBTH.
The association presently needs support to begin the construction of the hostel which they initiated to ensure continuity, improve treatment outcomes and lesson the stress of parents who travel from afar to seek cancer treatment for their wards.
She lauded the GHAPACC for initiating the construction of the hostel which she believed when completed would address the huge cost of transportation families of children with cancers bear in travelling to seek treatment for their children.
The First Lady declared her support to ensure that enough funds were raised for the success of the project saying ‘the lack of accommodation may be a reason why about just 30 per cent of the expected number of 1,000 children with cancer seeks treatment’.
She charged the association to go beyond the provision of the hostel and consider improving access to well-balanced diets for children with cancer and their parents who take care of them.
“As many of the children would have to live here for several months, it is also important that their educational needs are met, and I suggest that the hostel should have teachers assigned to the children,” Mrs. Akuffo-Addo said.
She lauded the association for initiating the project adding I would like to assure you of my commitment to the realisation of initiatives that will improve the health of our precious children and I encourage all to join forces in contributing towards the successful completion of this hostel.
Dr. Kwame Aveh, chairman of GHAPACC, said the construction of the hostel was urgent since over 80 per cent of childhood cancer patients, who are seen at the KBTH, are referred from facilities outside Accra.
He said the association also realised that about 30 per cent of parents abandon treatment after a few visits and leave the children to their inevitable fate due to the geographical cost of treatment, lack of accommodation and the difficulty in transporting the young ones to the hospital.
He called on the public to help construct the hostel either in cash or in kind to ensure better care for all children with cancer.
This year’s ICCD is on the theme, ‘Better access to care for children and adolescents with cancer every’.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey