From Alhaji Bashiru Zakari, Durban, South Africa.
The President of Breast Care International (BCI) Ghana, a leading Non- Governmental Organization, Dr. (Mrs.) Beatrice Wiafe Addai, has announced that BCI was ready to co-operate and share experience with countries that are prepared to form the Breast Cancer Survivors Association.
Speaking at the recent 9th International Africa Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) Conference in Durban, South Africa, November 21-24, Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai said, the Peace and Love Survivors Association (PALSA), is made up of membership over 300, who have gone through treatment at the Peace and Love Hospitals in Kumasi and Accra, Ghana.
Dr. Beatrice Wiafe, who is a Council Member of AORTIC also disclosed that voluntary breast cancer survivors and oncology nurses have received training to equip them with appropriate skills needed to assist newly diagnosed cancer patients by accessing their family, peer, community support and other resources they may need for coping with the disease.
She said that as a survivors association PALSA does not only encourages newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who report at the Peace and Love Hospitals to follow up treatment plans but also support BCI outreach programs by promoting early detection while serving as a testament that breast cancer is survivable and treatable.
Having screened more than 700,000 women during community outreach programmes in towns, villages and workplaces over the past few years, hundreds of suspected breast cancer patients are seen every day at Peace and Love Hospitals where PALSA members voluntary visit a few times a week to talk to women waiting to be examined.
Dr. Beatrice WiafeAddai, a General Surgeon, Consultant Breast Surgeon, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Peace and Love Hospitals, said that a private room is dedicated to PALSA for discussion with particularly worried individuals, adding, “ This programme has been very effective in supporting people going through the worry of the diagnostic process.
Extending the activities of PALSA, a Helping Others through Personal Experience (HOPE) Peer Nurse Navigation program has been created in collaboration with CARRIES TOUCH INC, USA with the aim of reducing breast cancer mortality, narrowing gap between patient and medical staff and helping to increase the number of cancer Survivors in the country.
In addition to the survivorship management programs, Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai, who chaired the first Susan G. Komen Ghana Race for the Cure in 2011 and 2012 and also a Chairperson of International Breast Cancer and Nutrition. Project (IBCN) in Ghana, announced that BCI in collaboration with Peace and Love Hospitals have started a Breast Health Education and Awareness Programme (BHEAP) initiative to educate senior high school (SHS)students and teachers on breast health issues.
The students can become breast cancer ambassadors in their homes and communities, where they can also spread the message by educating members of their immediate families and friends.
The 9th International AORTIC Conference was entitled “Cancer in Africa Bridging Science and Humanity” attracted more than 1000 delegates from over 38 countries including 24 African countries with 68 oral and 193 posters presentations.
Held every two years, the AORTIC Conference provide a unique platform to bring together leading African and International health care professionals in cancer care, advocates, leaders in Government, and various members of the International health industry and global cancer community meetings and discussing cancer-related matters and proffering solutions to significantly reduce the impact of cancer in Africa and indeed around the world.
In his remarks, Prof. Vikash Sewram, a Local Organizing Committee Chairman of AORTIC, said in 1998, friendship between China and South Africa began,
with many visits by Chinese to South Africa through bilateral health collaborations.
He disclosed that cancer is the 6th cause of death in South Africa with Prostate cancer taking the lead.
Prof. Sewram said, from February 2014, all females’ students are to receive free cervical cancer vaccine and lauded countries such as China, Ghana, Thailand and the UK, which have established National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), adding that South Africa Government has budgeted R.150 million for the National Health Insurance in the country.