Ghanaians in form of individuals, groups and associations are really taking giant strides towards alleviating the sufferings of fellow citizens health-wise. They are no longer relying on the government alone! And the latest of the moves is the Cancer Children Hostel initiative.
First Lady of The Republic of Ghana, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo was at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on Wednesday, February 15 where she cut sod for the construction of a hostel for patients of childhood cancer.
The occasion was held on the commemoration of the International Childhood Cancer Day at the Korle-Bu hospital in Accra.
At the occasion, the position of Cancer Childhood Ambassador was conferred on Mrs Akufo-Addo who was a Special Guest of Honour, by the Acting CEO of Korle-Bu, Dr.Samuel Asiamah. Accepting the challenge, The First Lady appealed for everyone’s support to enable play her new role successfully.
Other distinguished personalities present at the event were the Director General of Ghana Health Services, representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), and Mrs. Marian Opoku, member of Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancers.
The Cancer Children Hostel
The initiative to construct the cancer children hostel was conceived and supported by the Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancers (GHPACC). The hostel is aimed at housing children suffering from cancer, together with their parents or guardians who would be coming from far distances to receive treatments at the hospital.
Although there is a discrepancy on the actual number of bed to be made available at the building; with some sources reporting 52, and others saying 30, the building is expected to provide a temporary accommodation for patients and their caregivers through the diagnoses and treatment periods.
At the ceremony, the First Lady congratulated the Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancers for initiating such a project and noted that the facility will bring relief to many guardians by reducing their travel stress, cost and associated risks as many of the child cancer patients have to travel long distances to attend sessions at Korle-Bu. She pointed out that the facility will serve as a “home away from their distant homes”.
Mrs. Akufo-Addo also hinted on making educational and nutritional provisions for the children whom according to her, may be spending a long time receiving treatments at the hospital. Buttressing this point, Mrs Akufo-Addo said the Cancer Children Hostel is supposed to be a “safe haven” for hundreds of children with cancer who will be coming to the Korle Bu hospital with their guardians to receive treatments.
Beyond providing a hostel, we should go a step further to consider access to well-balanced diets for the children and their families… I have been reliably informed that teachers have been assigned to cover the children’s wards at Korle Bu and so I take this opportunity to suggest this hostel should also have teachers assigned to the children.
She however noted that the plan for such provision will be made in the future.
The First Lady promised to be committed to the actualization of the project and also called for a collective effort to quicken the achievement of the goal.
Finance for the Cancer Children Hostel
It is important to point out that the construction of the cancer children hostel is not a government undertaken project but that of charitable individuals under the umbrella of the Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancers.
Chairman of GHPACC, Dr. Kwame Aveh who spoke to Citi News said the association is in dire need of financial support to facilitate the construction of the hostel. According to him, the amount currently in the association’s purse is nothing close to the estimated GH¢2 million needed for the construction of the hostel.
Dr. Aveh indicated that they have applied for financial assistance at various places but are yet to receive positive responses; adding that the extent of work done so far was funded from the personal pockets of members of the association.
He also said that Korle-Bu donated a land to the GHPACC where they plan to build another cancer children hostel in Kumasi. He therefore called on people to provide them with the needed funds in order to assist them actualise their dream of making accommodation free for childhood cancer patients and their guardians.