NHIS

Management of the National Health Insurance Scheme has been urged to cover medication for childhood cancers as they were having a toll on families.

Dr Adelin Asante-Kwabah, Pediatrician, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, said currently the medications for childhood cancers was not covered under the NHIS.

Dr Asante-Kwabah made the appeal during a sensitization programme on childhood cancer for church members of the
Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Redemption Congregation at Tema Community Nine.

She indicated that it was sad that Ghanaians tend to relegate issues of children to background most of the time adding that whereas some of the drugs of adult cancers were covered by NHIS, that of children were not considered.

She said it was a heartbroken moment anytime a child was dying from cancer because the family could not afford medication while health insurance could have easily taken care of it to save the child’s life.

Dr Asante-Kwabah who was visibly worried about the situation, said for diagnoses to be done, the patient had to undergo a MRI scan which cost about GHs 900 adding that “after diagnoses, depending on the state of the cancer, a minimum amount of GHs 3,000 is needed”.

She reminded government, the NHIS, Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service as well as stakeholders to remember that treating of childhood cancer takes a lot of resources from the family as it may even prevent the caregivers from engaging in business ventures.

According to her, to add to the woes of childhood cancer patients, the county could only boost of five pediatric
oncologists stationed at Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals, making few children lucky enough to access
treatment.

She therefore appealed to government to set up a scholarship scheme to enable more doctors to specialize in that area.

According to her, a research done at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, revealed that about 1,300 children were diagnosed

annually with childhood cancers.

She said cancer could affect the eyes, brain, kidney, and the blood adding that the causes were yet to be known and cure was not available saying however that early treatment could save the child’s life.

Appealing to the church members to participate in an ongoing blood donation exercise, she stated that apart from the

medication, blood transfusion was one of the critical points in the treatment of childhood cancers.

Mrs Florence Akrofi, Senior Presbyter of PCG, Redemption Congregation encouraged members to seek medical care for their children whenever they were sick as that would help in the early diagnoses of sicknesses.

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