The National Service Scheme (NSS) is considering the training and deployment of national service persons to undertake nationwide education on the prevention and control of cancer and its related infections.
The Executive Director of the scheme, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, who made this known, said the lack of a strong nationwide sensitisation programme on the prevalence, prevention and control of the disease had caused the loss of many lives, especially in deprived areas in the country.
He stated this when a four-member delegation from City Cancer Challenge (C/Can), a cancer support foundation based in Kumasi, paid a working visit to him at the NSS headquarters in Accra to congratulate him on his new appointment as the Executive Director of NSS.
The visit was also meant to seek the NSS Executive Director’s support for the operations of C/Can programmes in Ghana.
The C/Can delegation was led by its Chief Executive Director, Dr Susan Henshall.
Members of the delegation included Thuy Khuc-Bilon, Communication Manager of C/Can, Sophie Bossmann- Kemdjo, Regional Director for Africa and Europe and Fred Kwame Awintior, City Manager.
City Cancer Challenge Foundation (C/Can) supports cities around the world as they work to improve access to equitable, quality cancer care. C/Can leads a city-based partnership initiative that aims to improve access to quality cancer care in cities around the world by transforming the way stakeholders from the public and private sectors collectively design, plan, and implement cancer solutions.
C/Can was launched by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) at the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. It was established as a standalone Swiss foundation in January 2019.
Mr Assibey Antwi commended C/Can for their role in providing financial and technical support for cities to roll out projects to manage cancer cases in Ghana and other countries.
The NSS boss recalled the successes he obtained during his tenure as the Chairperson of the executive committee of C/Can in Kumasi in 2018 and underscored the need for more to be done to reduce cancer deaths in the country.
“My mother died out of cancer, so I see it as a very deadly disease which continues to take the lives of our family and loved ones who for no reason of theirs, lack information about the disease.
“The last time we went to the ministry of health to present our report, we realized that there were a lot more insights into cancer that our nation Ghana does not know,” he said.
According to the Global Cancer Statistics (GLOBOCAN) report for 2020, more than 24,000 new cancer cases are recorded annually in Ghana, with breast, liver, cervix, and prostate cancer being the major cause of death.
In 2020 alone, liver cancer recorded 3,166 deaths, cervical cancer killed 1,699, and prostate cancer caused 1,117 deaths in the country.
Against this backdrop, Mr Assibey Antwi said the NSS management would be more than ready to explore any call from C/Can to collaborate with the scheme to sensitize people across the country.
He said such a collaborative effort was a step in the right direction since it would help to save more lives.
“Every year, we deploy more than 100,000 graduates from universities, teacher and nursing colleges of education and I believe we can leverage on these numbers and retrain them to educate people in the hinterlands about cancer,” he said
For her part, the Chief Executive Director of C/Can, Dr Susan Henshall, commended Mr Assibey Antwi for his selfless leadership in making C/Can a steadfast organisation since its introduction into Ghana in 2018.
“We want to recognize your contribution because we know you as one of the persons who, from day one, has worked relentlessly to advocate for Kumasi and we acknowledge that without your support, we would not have had C/Can running in Kumasi today,” she said.
She said C/Can would continue to rely on the competencies of Mr Assibey Antwi to expand their operations to benefit many people in the country.
“We are so proud of the many things you and your team were able to accomplish and we are sure we can continue to count on your support in the future of C/Can,” she said.