PLANS are underway to establish a national Oncology training centre for nurses at the Peace and Love Hospital, a private medical facility at Oduom in Kumasi.
Oncology is the study and treatment of tumors in the body.
The Chief Executive of the Hospital, Dr (Mrs) Beatrice Wiafe-Addai, who made this known, said the Ministry of Health had expressed interest in playing a major role in the establishment of the centre.
Consequently, the Ministry had asked for a review of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Breast Care International (BCI) and the National Cancer Coalition (NCC) of the US who are spearheading the creation of the training centre so that the ministry would have a place in the project.
Dr Wiafe-Addai made this known at the opening of a three-day in-service Oncology training programme at the hospital for 20 nurses drawn from public and private hospitals in seven regions of the country including Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Northern, Greater Accra, Western and Upper East, last Friday.
The training programme, the first in a series for nurses in the country, was undertaken by the BCI, a health-related NGO with special emphasis on breast cancer, in collaboration with the NCC with sponsorship from the Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals in the US.
The training was aimed at equipping nurses in the country with the basic knowledge and skills to diagnose breast and cervical cancers at their early stages at the district levels and know when to refer patients for treatment at the referral facilities.
Established in 2002, Peace and Love Hospital has been the office of the BCI. Dr Wiafe-Addai, a specialist surgeon, is also the President of BCI.
Dr Wiafe-Addai said the collaboration between BCI and NCC had resulted in the supply of cancer drugs worth millions of US dollars to some health facilities in Ghana free of charge.
“This was done to ensure that cancer patients have access to the drugs whose cost are mostly beyond the reach of patients,” she said.
Dr Wiafe Addai said lack of Oncology nurses in the district hospitals was a major threat to health delivery and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and that was why the two organisations were determined to help in addressing the shortfalls.
She noted that cancers kill more than Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined, and as such serious attention needed to be created about the dangers of the disease and upgrade the knowledge of health personnel to handle cases.
Dr Tom Ronne, Vice President of NCC, said his outfit receives and distributes about US$150 million every year.
In a statement read on her behalf, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Ms Anima Wilson, commended the two organisations for making the best out of their collaboration.
She said breast cancer was a threat to the development of women and every effort to check the disease would be supported by the government.