Construction works on the Ghana Centre for Haematological and Clinical Genetics at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) will begin this year, Ms Mansa Nettey, President of the Leukaemia Project Foundation (LPF) has disclosed.
Ms Nettey, who was addressing participants at the end of the 2nd annual Health Walk of the LPF in Accra on Saturday, said the US$ 20 million project, would not only enhance proper diagnosis, treatment, care and support of patients of blood cancers in Ghana, but would also ensure that infections, which occurred as a result of the absence of a separate unit at the hospital, would be eliminated.
She said the LPF was a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) committed to mobilising resources to help in the education for the prevention as well as the care and cure of Ghanaians living with leukaemia, lymphoma and related blood diseases.
She said the annual Health Walk, dubbed 'Walk For Life,' was, therefore, instituted as one of the means of raising funds for the project and of creating public awareness about blood cancers. This year's walk, which was organised on the theme: 'Changing the outlook of blood diseases in Ghana,' was sponsored by the CAITEC Group, Ecobank and Citi fm.
The occasion provided a platform for Multichoice Africa Operations Team to present US $1,250 to LPF and for LPF to honour four institutions with Platinum Awards for their support to LPF over the years.
The four institutions are the CAITEC Group of Companies, Multichoice Ghana, Stanbic Bank and Ecobank.
Mr Cecil Sunkwa-Mills, General Manager, Multichoice Ghana, who presented the amount on behalf of the Team, said in July 2012, Multichoice lost its Operations Manager through Leukaemia and decided to support a suitable organisation that was championing the cause of Leukaemia patients.
Mr Sunkwa-Mills pledged Multichoice's continued support for LPF.
The LPF was formed in 2008 out of the need to give back to ensure that leukaemia patients did not have to face the bleak outcomes that are typical of the under-resourced treatment facilities in Ghana and West Africa as a whole.
The Foundation is governed by an eight-member Board comprising Ms Mansa Nettey, Dr Ivy Ekem (Vice President), Mr Peter Osei-Tutu (Executive Director), Dr Ivon Dei (Treasurer) and Mrs Pearl Dua (Communications Director).
The others are Mr Daniel Afari (Counsellor), Mr Charles Ampofo (Director) and Mrs Dorothy Gordon (Member).
Since 1972, when the Haematology Department was established as an independent unit at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the number of patients with haematological cancer has continued to increase, with vailable statistics indicating that in 2007, Out-Patients Department (OPD) admissions with blood cancers totalled 2,589 which number shot up to 3,163 in 2009 while the number of day care patients totalling 2,558 in 2007 rose to 3,608 in 2009.
The statistics also indicate that admissions show a survival rate of 71:6 per cent, meaning that for every four admissions, one is likely to die.
From the statistics, it is clear that a large number of Ghanaians suffer from blood disorders with serious consequences for themselves, their families and communities, and with social and economic consequences for the nation as a whole.
However, the Haematology Department, which currently serves as the main treatment centre for leukaemia, through chemotherapy and radiotherapy (provided by the radiation Oncology unit), is under-resourced.
Currently, the health care facilities for the diagnosis, treatment and follow- up of blood cancers such as lymphoma, leukaemia and myeloma as well as non-cancers like sickle cell and the different types of anaemia, are ill-equipped, while bone marrow transplant, which plays a major role, especially in patients with leukaemia and non-cancers like aplastic anaemia, is non-existent.
It is in an attempt to reverse the situation that the Ghana Centre for Haematology and Clinical Genetics is to be built, for which financial support from both the public and private sector is being solicited by the LPF.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)