Modern Women of Wisdom petitions parliament over child cancer

The Childhood Cancer Stakeholders in Ghana, numbering about 80 people, marched in Accra to petition the Health Committee of Parliament of Ghana to approve treatment of selected childhood cancers under the National Health Insurance Scheme on International Childhood Cancer Day 2018.
The group comprising of parents of children with cancer, Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancer (GHAPACC), The Ghana NGO Coalition on The Rights of The Child, Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health, World Child Cancer and Modern Women of Wisdom International marched from the Art Centre to the Parliament House to present the petition.
The group converged at the Art Centre, and marched from the Art Centre through the Independence Square runabout to the Parliament House. Hon Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah, The Chairman and Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh, the Ranking Member of the Health Committee were on hand, to receive the petition at the forecourt of the Parliament House.
Three childhood cancers namely: Lymphomas (cancer of the lymphatic system), Retinoblastoma (eye cancer) and Wilms tumour (kidney cancer) are among the commonest child cancer conditions the Stakeholders are pushing for inclusion on the Health Insurance benefit package.
In presenting the petition, Dr John Ahenkorah, executive member of the GHAPACC, said; ‘’Honourable, the reason why we are here, as you can see from behind, is that parents whose children are going through treatment, we are saying, we are going through lots of troubles.
After your child is diagnosed with cancer, the psychological trauma, the emotional trauma that you go with it, when that is coupled with the ability to pay so that you child can survive, it becomes a big problem. So, we are crying, and pleading that children with cancers are treated under the NHIS, so that instead of paying out of pocket our children can also live. We are just pleading. This is a petition we are bringing to you; we are pleading that the committee looks at it and take action.’’
The Chairman of the Heath Committee,  after receiving the petition, said, ‘’well, I’m flanked by my ranking member and we will first like to thank the organizers of this event. We are all aware February 4 of each year is World Cancer Day.
This year, I made a statement on the floor of parliament to mark the day. One of the things we all spoke about was the need to support childhood cancer patients in terms of helping them with the payment of their hospital bills. I think, the other issue is the fact that we have only two child cancer treatment centres, and that does not auger well for us, as a country.  We also suggested that steps should be taken to ensure we equip the other teaching hospitals, especially, in Tamale and Cape Cost to provide these services as well.
A lot of members of the House spoke about the fact that steps should be taken to include childhood cancers on the benefit package of the Health Insurance. I think your petition goes along with that.  As you may know, the Law that governs the insurance currently gives the power to the Minister to set up the benefit package. As a committee with oversight responsibility over the Health Ministry, we are going to take this very seriously, liaise with the Minster of Health to make the necessary changes.
We all know that children are the future of the nation. And we know that generally, cancers are not treatable but most childhood cancers are treatable, so why should we not support our children so that they are fit enough to join their colleagues to be able to make Ghana a better place for us, when they grow?  Just as we could make cervical and breast cancers part of the benefit package, if we extend it to childhood cancers, it is a step in the right direction. Even though, we all know the challenges the government is facing currently, as far as our finances are convened, we will assess the feasibility of adding the childhood cancers.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank you for embarking on this venture and assure you that we will let the Minister of Health, who is mandated by the law to modify the benefit package look at this and ensure something meaningful comes out of this petition.’’
George Achempim, Country Representative of World Child Cancer, stressed that, the current situation where childhood cancer treatment in is supported by donors and individuals is not sustainable; and the only way to ensure Ghana is bale save majority of the children battling with cancer is to add childhood cancer treatment in the National Health Insurance benefit package.
Speaking to the media, the CEO/Founder of Modern Women of Wisdom International Nana Ama Asantewaa Kwarkoh called on the Government to include childhood cancers in the National Health Insurance Scheme as the issue is wrecking many marriages and draining resources of parents.
The Childhood Cancer Stakeholders in Ghana, numbering about 80 people, marched in Accra to petition the Health Committee of Parliament of Ghana to approve treatment of selected childhood cancers under the National Health Insurance Scheme on International Childhood Cancer Day 2018. The group comprising of parents of children with cancer, Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancer (GHAPACC), The Ghana NGO Coalition on The Rights of The Child, Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health, World Child Cancer and Modern Women of Wisdom International marched from the Art Centre to the Parliament House to present the petition.
The group converged at the Art Centre, and marched from the Art Centre through the Independence Square runabout to the Parliament House. Hon Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah, The Chairman and Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh, the Ranking Member of the Health Committee were on hand, to receive the petition at the forecourt of the Parliament House.
Three childhood cancers namely: Lymphomas (cancer of the lymphatic system), Retinoblastoma (eye cancer) and Wilms tumour (kidney cancer) are among the commonest child cancer conditions the Stakeholders are pushing for inclusion on the Health Insurance benefit package.
In presenting the petition, Dr John Ahenkorah, executive member of the GHAPACC, said; ‘’Honourable, the reason why we are here, as you can see from behind, is that parents whose children are going through treatment, we are saying, we are going through lots of troubles.  After your child is diagnosed with cancer, the psychological trauma, the emotional trauma that you go with it, when that is coupled with the ability to pay so that you child can survive, it becomes a big problem. So, we are crying, and pleading that children with cancers are treated under the NHIS, so that instead of paying out of pocket our children can also live. We are just pleading. This is a petition we are bringing to you; we are pleading that the committee looks at it and take action.’’
The Chairman of the Heath Committee,  after receiving the petition, said, ‘’well, I’m flanked by my ranking member and we will first like to thank the organizers of this event. We are all aware February 4 of each year is World Cancer Day. This year, I made a statement on the floor of parliament to mark the day. One of the things we all spoke about was the need to support childhood cancer patients in terms of helping them with the payment of their hospital bills.
I think, the other issue is the fact that we have only two child cancer treatment centres, and that does not auger well for us, as a country.  We also suggested that steps should be taken to ensure we equip the other teaching hospitals, especially, in Tamale and Cape Cost to provide these services as well. A lot of members of the House spoke about the fact that steps should be taken to include childhood cancers on the benefit package of the Health Insurance. I think your petition goes along with that.  As you may know, the Law that governs the insurance currently gives the power to the Minister to set up the benefit package. As a committee with oversight responsibility over the Health Ministry, we are going to take this very seriously, liaise with the Minster of Health to make the necessary changes.
We all know that children are the future of the nation. And we know that generally, cancers are not treatable but most childhood cancers are treatable, so why should we not support our children so that they are fit enough to join their colleagues to be able to make Ghana a better place for us, when they grow?
Just as we could make cervical and breast cancers part of the benefit package, if we extend it to childhood cancers, it is a step in the right direction. Even though, we all know the challenges the government is facing currently, as far as our finances are convened, we will assess the feasibility of adding the childhood cancers.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank you for embarking on this venture and assure you that we will let the Minister of Health, who is mandated by the law to modify the benefit package look at this and ensure something meaningful comes out of this petition.’’
George Achempim, Country Representative of World Child Cancer, stressed that, the current situation where childhood cancer treatment in is supported by donors and individuals is not sustainable; and the only way to ensure Ghana is bale save majority of the children battling with cancer is to add childhood cancer treatment in the National Health Insurance benefit package.
Speaking to the media, the CEO/Founder of Modern Women of Wisdom International Nana Ama Asantewaa Kwarkoh called on the Government to include childhood cancers in the National Health Insurance Scheme as the illness is wrecking many marriages and draining resources of parents.

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