A specialised centre for the treatment of cancer, facial malformations and infectious diseases in Kumasi has been inaugurated by President J.A. Kufuor.
The HopeXchange Medical Centre will become operational in 2009 and it will be used as a regional facility for continuing medical education in collaboration with the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The 130 bed-capacity hospital, estimated at $25 million, is a joint initiative of the Catholic Church of Ghana, the Ghana Mission Foundation of the Republic of Malta and HopeXchange, an international humanitarian organisation.
Other collaborators in the project include the Catholic University of Rome Medical Centre, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the University of Innsbruck Medical Centre, Operation Smile, the Breast Health Global Initiative, the Ghana Health Service, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and the Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi, which donated the 6.15 acres of land for the project.
The centre will also house the first interactive learning laboratory of the Breast Health Global Initiative, where doctors and scientists from around the world will share critical information on early detection and treatment of breast cancer in the country.
Breast cancer is gradually becoming a health concern in the country. Nearly 70 per cent of Ghanaian women diagnosed with breast cancer are said to have advanced forms of the disease, which are difficult to treat.
Inaugurating the hospital, President Kufuor said it would be a great asset for the people of Kumasi, the Ashanti Region and the nation.
In its commitment to fighting disease and improving access to health care, the President said, the government had made a lot of effort to provide adequate and affordable health facilities across the length and breadth of the country.
In spite of those interventions, he said, budgetary constraints and limited public resources did not make it easy for the government alone to satisfy the needs of the health sector.
Consequently, he said, it had, by way of policy, encouraged the involvement and participation of the private sector in health care.
President Kufuor said the centre was a testimony of the positive results that could be generated by a strong collaborative effort among religious institutions, the private sector, civil society and government agencies.
The President and Chief Executive Officer of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Ms Hala Moddelmog, said the support provided by the cancer organisation for the establishment of the hospital was partly in fulfilment of a promise made by Ms Nancy Brinker to her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything possible to end breast cancer forever.
Ms Moddelmog said the fulfilment of that promise gave birth to the establishment of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure initiative in 1982, after which the global breast cancer movement was launched, which had today set up a fund of more than $1billion, the largest source of non-profit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.
The Chief Medical Director of the HopeXchange Medical Centre, Professor Riccardo Masetti, said although his mother died hours before the inaugural ceremony, the good news was that it was the wish of her mother that he took part in the dedication of the hospital project in Ghana, instead of being by her bedside in the last moment of her life.