Monday, 28 November

Ghana urgently needs more cancer doctors, centres – Doctor

Health News
An oncology centre at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana

A public health physician specialist, Dr Daniel Mingle, has asked for more oncologists to be trained in Ghana all the while noting the pressing need for the establishment of more oncology centres. 

He was speaking to Class News’ Prince Benjamin on the sidelines of the maiden ‘Pink October: Breast Cancer Educational Talk’ organised by the Duala Medical Centre at the Garrison Methodist-Presbyterian Church, Burma Camp, Accra. 

Dr Mingle first noted, when it comes to breast cancer disease, “There are barriers that prevent people from seeking help” and he identified them as: Information access, unawareness, geographical access, and financial barriers. 

After speaking on the efforts of medical facilities of the Ghana Armed Forces to increase awareness on the disease and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) taking care of the financial burdens of breast cancer consultation and treatment including chemotherapy but excluding radiotherapy, he bemoaned the challenge rural dwellers have in accessing health care regarding their breasts. 

“Across all facilities in the country, once the institution accepts NHIS,” you can consult a specialist and seek treatment for free but “as a country, we need to look at training more oncologists,” the medical doctor noted. 

“Oncologists are doctors who specilise in treatment of cancers,” he explained. 

Dr Mingle holds that, currently, few medical facilities including “the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital [in Kumasi] and the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital [in Accra] being the only places where you can manage [cancer] cases," are overburdened.  

He worried that transportation to far distances to seek oncological care can exacerbate the financial burdens on patients.  

“You diagnose somebody all the way up north, maybe Bawku, and the person has to travel all the way to Kumasi to seek treatment. That part of the financial access [is lacking]. It's not just the treatment [I'm concerned with] but moving from there [to the distant treatment centre],” he cited with the illustration: “He or she pays for transportation. Where [will they] sleep? How [will they] feed? Where are they going to take a bath? All these access barriers need to be taken care of in such a way that the patient is treated as a human being, his or her human rights are respected, in such a way that there are oncology points anywhere so that the travel is not too much [so] they have [full] access.” 

Returning to the grave need to create cancer centres across the 16 regions of Ghana, Dr Daniel Mingle stressed: “Our point [and what we seek by talking] is to make sure we have early detection centres in all our medical installations so all these [inconveniences] will be cut short.”

“We believe 70 per cent of our clients are [part of the] civilian population. So whatever impact we bring to bear is also going to [be seen] on the general public and with that we help reduce the cancer burden in the country,” the public health physician specialist at the 37 Military Hospital, Accra, concluded.

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