Mrs. Mills (right) in a handshake with Prof. Albert Bruce-Tagoe, of Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, with them is Mrs. Grace Larkuo Marabe, President, Emofra Africa.
About 274,000 deaths occur annually worldwide due to cervical cancer, with 80 per cent of them occurring in developing countries including Ghana, says Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills, the First Lady.
“This alarming figure further emphasizes the need for this gathering to disseminate critical information to the public about the devastating effect of cancer,” she told a two-day conference on cancer in Africa which opened in Accra yesterday.
The conference organized by Emofra Africa an International, non-governmental organization in collaboration with the Ridge and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospitals, aims at increasing awareness and educate the public on cancer-related diseases in Africa.
It was on the theme: cancer in Africa, prevention, treatment and cure.
Mrs. Mills said the conference was timely and invaluable in helping the country address the growing problem of cancer.
“With early diagnosis, the right treatment plan, solid support unit of family and medical professionals, cancer no longer has to be viewed as death sentence, but rather as a disease that can be faced head on with a successful outcome,”She added.
She said a strong cancer prevention campaign and programme would greatly reduce the number of new cases which, according to World Health Organisation research continued to increase.
Mrs. Mills said it was very essential for government agencies to work with hospitals to create an avid and widespread cancer awareness campian, adding that it was through early detection by screening, change in life style and diet that can help battle some of the prevalent cancers.
Mrs. Larkuo Grace Marabe, president of Emofra Africa, said there was the need to invest in health infrastructure and train health care professionals in global cutting-edge technology to battle cancer.
”We believe that all lives are precious and we can no longer afford to lose lives in Africa due to lack of information and resources, “she said and gave assurance of her organization’s support to cancer survivors and families to access treatment and medication.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr. Sylvester Anemana said as part of effort to reduce the disease in the country the Ministry has drawn up a strategic plan for public education programmes.
He said MOH has also set up a committee on national cancer management and treatment and has planned to procure the needed equipment for tertiary, primary and secondary institutions for screening of the cancer related-diseases.