List Childhood Cancers on NHIS – KATH Oncologists Appeal

The Paediatric Oncology Unit of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) has reiterated calls for the treatment and management of childhood cancers to be listed on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The Unit is worried, parents and guardians are unable to complete the treatment cycle of their wards, who have been affected by the various forms of cancer, due to the high cost of medication, laboratory tests and in-patient management.

In 2018, the Unit recorded 122 new childhood cancer cases, with the commonest conditions being Lymphoma and Leukemia.

Speaking in Kumasi at the New Year edition of the Hope Alive Concert, organized by the Kwaku Danso Abeam (KDA) Foundation, Head of the Paediatric Oncology Unit of KATH, Dr Vivian Paintsil mentioned that the fundraiser could not have come at the better time.

“It was necessary to raise the funds because childhood cancers are not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), parents have to bear the cost out of their pockets and because of that most times, a lot of them don’t have money and if they don’t have money it means they can’t treat the condition of their wards.”

“This money that we’ve raised will help us treat some patients, those who can’t afford the bills or otherwise would have died because they can’t afford chemotherapy and the lab tests that must be done”, Dr Paintsil noted at the Crystal Rose Ambassador Hotel.

She added:  “It is because of these that we’re praying and hoping that childhood cancers will be on the NHIS. Currently it’s like you’re buying life and if don’t have money, you can’t buy the life that will make your child survive; and that shouldn’t happen.”

“Everybody has a right to life and good health. It’s a basic human right. Our children are the future leaders and they will contribute to nation-building, hence the necessary support”, the KATH Paediatric Oncology boss maintained.

The Hope Alive Concert was well attended by gallant survivors of childhood cancers, their families, medical professionals, well wishers, members of the KDA Foundation and the media who were all treated to amazing choral music from the Celestial Evangel Choir on Wednesday January 2, 2019.

It was organized by the KDA Foundation in collaboration with the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, the Little Steps Foundation of KATH, the Childhood Cancer Unit and supported by Ultimate 106.9FM, Krommin, Freg-Craft, Pinkberry Ghana, Cakie n Bakie and Icy Cup.

Touching on what motivated him to be a part of the Childhood Cancer Project, Kwaku Danso-Abeam shared a personal story of how he lost a dear relative to cancer and the programmes he has embarked on, not only to raise funds but also create awareness on the effects of childhood cancers.

“We had our first child cancer event last year where we went to KATH and donated some drugs, equipment and also threw a party for the kids and their families.”

“I lost my only brother to cancer and that’s where I draw my inspiration from, for this foundation as well as for the child cancer project. Also the Hope Alive Concert came into the picture when my team and I spoke about doing our second event. That is when a friend informed me about the Hope Alive and I’m like why don’t I collaborate with them?”

“Since we’re all fighting the same course, it made more sense to merge and work together to raise money for our children”, Kwaku Danso-Abeam added.

Some families whose loved ones had survived childhood cancers, urged other parents to seek early and proper medical attention if they suspected anything.

Meanwhile other individuals and institutions have been urged to support in kind or cash to the Unit.

One can do so by sending mobile money (MoMo) to 0544086711 with Dr George Atta Owusu Jnr as the wallet name.

Alternatively one can donate to the Little Steps Foundation at any Ecobank Ghana Limited branch nationwide. Details are:

Account Name – Little Steps Foundation (Oncology)

Account Number – 0213114488940603

Account Branch – Ecobank, Harper Road, Adum- Kumasi

By: Ghana/ Ama Bonsu