The National Health Insurance Authority’s (NHIA) mission to save Ghana’s next generation by including the four (4) main childhood cancers diagnosis and treatment to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Benefit Package received a major boost at a national symposium held in Accra, Thursday, August 25, 2022.
The knowledge sharing, advocacy, and policy development conference was under the theme” “Assuring Sustainable and Innovative Childhood Cancer Services in Ghana-Securing our children’s future.”
The conference, sponsored by Roche in collaboration with the NHIA was to support the national agenda of safeguarding families of children with childhood cancers from financial ruin and social isolation.
With the joint goal of increasing the survival rate of children suffering from childhood cancers, the event brought together stakeholders across sectors.
Among the speakers were the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Health Minister, Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, NHIA Board Chair, Dr. Ernest K. P Kwarko, Special Advisor on Health, Office of the First Lady, Her Excellency, Ambassador, Dr. Mokowa Adu-Gyamfi, NHIA Chief Executive, Dr. Okoe Boye, General Manager-Roche Pharmaceuticals, Philip Anderson, and the founder, NGO, Lifeline for Childhood Cancer in Ghana, Akua Sarpong.
In his keynote address, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia described childhood cancers and other related diseases as a “Death sentence” that warranted a well-structured and coordinated strategy to curb the menace.
“Let’s prioritize data capture on childhood cancers and other cancers to reduce waste and ensure efficiency of the journey embarked on. Healthcare requires valuable data for the sustainability of health projects.”
He called for transparency and accountability of resources meant for health care maintenance. “Let’s save health care delivery money for achieving the desired outcomes. One key challenge between the private sector and the public sector institutions is data sharing. We should harmonize and enable exchange of data that informs work ongoing and strategies that are directly impactful on our people.”
Dr. Bawumia talked about networking and digitizing the nation’s health care facilities to help improve access to quality health care.
The Health Minister, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu touched on Ghana’s strategic prioritization of childhood cancer care, the present, and the future.
He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensure a multi-stakeholder collaboration to make the national health care agenda achieve the expected positive outcomes.”Government will continue to provide quality, accessible and affordable health care to all residents in Ghana.
The Ministry of Health will continue to collaborate with the development and other strategic partners to achieve Universal Health Coverage, UHC.”
Chairman for the occasion, Dr. Ernest K. P Kwarko said sustaining the childhood cancers project required a collective responsibility and urged all critical stakeholders to make the best for the Ghanaian children.
He implied that adding the four main childhood cancers to the NHIS Benefit Package was not a favor but an attempt to build an equitable Ghanaian society, arguing that “Children are the bedrock of the nation’s future development.”
The NHIA Chief Executive, Dr. Okoe Boye observed that Ghana’s NHIS prevailed as the beacon of such social interventions in Africa.
In the fight against childhood cancers, he believed that a systematic and pragmatic approach is required to fight against childhood cancers.
“Children with childhood cancers will receive equal attention as malaria patients. Other related diseases will soon be included in the NHIS Benefit Package with government’s consecutive support.
” In the area of the digital revolution, the NHIA Boss stated, “We are committed to the national digitization drive. Claims payments will soon be fully digitized.”
Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo Addo in a speech read on her behalf appealed to all residents in Ghana to sign up for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for better health care services.
She advised healthcare practitioners to exhibit the highest form of professionalism in the course of discharging their duties.
Roche Pharmaceuticals, General Manager, Philip Anderson announced the release of a USD 400,000 package for cervical cancer patients’ treatment.
He further disclosed his organization and development partners’ sponsorship of 50 Ghanaian students studying Oncology in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Founder of the NGO, Lifeline for Childhood Cancer in Ghana, Akua Sarpong delivered an emotional overview of the death ratio.
She assured, “As an NGO, we are very unrelenting in our efforts to support children with childhood, cancers.”
“The disease inclusion in the NHIS Benefit Package is a major breakthrough and I commend the government for the initiative.”
NHIA Childhood Cancers drive
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in November 2021 included in the NHIS Benefit Package, the four main childhood cancers.
The landmark deal covers the diagnosis and treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, Burkitt Lymphoma, Retinoblastoma, and Wilms Tumor.
These four diseases constitute approximately 60% of all Childhood Cancers and are highly curable if detected early.
Childhood Cancer disease is now a leading cause of death in children globally.
Source: ABDUL KARIM NAATOGMAH