September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
This global collaborative campaign aims to raise awareness of childhood cancer and the inequalities that exist, as well as showing support for children and young people living with and beyond cancer.
In Ghana, World Child Cancer together with key stakeholders will be organizing awareness-raising events across the country.
The key stakeholders include World Health Organization (WHO), Ministry of Health (MoH), Ghana Health Service (GHS), ROCHE Pharmaceutical Limited, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Lifeline for Childhood Cancer Ghana (LCCG), Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals and other Shared Care Centres, Paediatric Oncology Doctors, and Nurses across the country.
Activities range from raising awareness about early warning signs and symptoms, durbars, press engagements, to highlighting issues about nutrition and mental health when it comes to childhood cancer care and management.
A child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes.
It is estimated that by the time one has finished reading this, another family will be embarking on a challenging and life-changing journey.
Receiving such devastating news is difficult for any child and their family but this hardship is exacerbated for those living in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), where a lack of resources and poor health infrastructure often conspire against them.
Despite advances in cancer treatment, which mean that over 80% of children in wealthy countries will survive, in LMICs (where most childhood cancer cases occur) it is another story.
The reality for many children is that cancer treatments are either unaffordable or unattainable, simply because of where they live.
In Ghana, thankfully, the NHIS now covers four of the childhood cancers.