World Child Cancer is helping children in Ghana by improving cancer diagnosis, treatment and supportive care at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra. Many child cancers are curable at reasonable cost even within basic health systems with drugs and treatments which have been known to doctors for decades. World Child Cancer transfers this expertise through medical twinning partnerships. The project helps around 150 children a year by saving lives and reducing suffering.
Fewer than a fifth of all children with cancer in Ghana are diagnosed and for those who are diagnosed survival rates are significantly lower than in developed countries. Low survival rates are the result of late diagnosis, a lack of trained healthcare professionals, deficit of drugs and high rates of abandonment of treatment. In addition, the majority of children with incurable cancer die in pain because of a lack of palliative care and effective pain relief medication.
World Child Cancer has developed a twinning partnership between the Royal Sick Children's Hospital in Edinburgh, UK and the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana to transfer specialist medical expertise and skills to healthcare professionals in Ghana.
The project is in its third year, now reaching 150 children per year, and has already increased survival rates for the most common diagnosed cancers to 60% (one year event free survival).
The project aims to increase access to treatment and to improve long-term survival rates (e.g. three year event free survival). The focus will continue to be on curing easily treatable child cancers (Burkitts lymphoma, Wilms tumour, reintoblastoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia) whilst also providing effective pain relief for children with incurable cancer.
By providing training for healthcare professionals in Ghana the local healthcare infrastructure will be strengthened.