Roche hosts World Cancer Day Conference in Accra

Roche has convened a World Cancer Day Conference in Accra to advance discussions about driving quality, equitable and sustainable cancer-care in Ghana through a multi-stakeholder collaboration approach.
  • focuses on delivering quality, equitable and sustainable cancer care for all people

Roche has convened a World Cancer Day Conference in Accra to advance discussions about driving quality, equitable and sustainable cancer-care in Ghana through a multi-stakeholder collaboration approach. This event contributes to the 2022 global World Cancer Day theme ‘Close the Care Gap’, which aims to raise awareness of equity gaps in cancer care that affect almost everyone and costs lives.

The conference, held at the Marriott Hotel, Airport City, brought together high-ranking stakeholders from government, the private sector and local hospitals. This multi-stakeholder event was chaired by the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.

The Chairman stated that it is only through multi-stakeholder collaboration that the cancer canker can be addressed in the country. He indicated that government as part of its national health policy looked at progressive public private partnerships that clearly add value to the health of Ghanaians, and acknowledged the impactful holistic partnership in cancer care the Ministry of Health currently has with Roche.

Through a series of remarks and a panel discussion, these speakers, among others, discussed opportunities for innovative and sustainable cancer funding; the value of innovation in cancer control; and strategies to implement optimal patient-centred cancer care.

Guest speakers included Dr. Lydia Dsane Selby, CEO of the National Health Insurance; Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Ghana Health Service Director General; and Professor Clegg-Lamptey, Consultant Surgeon at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

The NHIA CEO in her remarks acknowledged the immense role that funding of care ultimately has on cancer management outcomes and its sustainability. “It is my hope that we can all work together to make sure we have sustainable funding of cancer in the long-term, and ensure equity for all in Ghana.”

According to the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, one of the key factors that will enable Ghana to adequately tackle the cancer menace is when late-stage diagnosis of cancer becomes a thing of the past. According to him, early-stage diagnosis proffers a good opportunity for desired outcomes of care to be achieved, and called on all and sundry to collaborate in addressing late-stage diagnosis.

Professor Joe-Nat Clegg-Lamptey, Consultant Surgeon at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, stated that innovation in cancer care has been introduced and integrated into everyday care, and has proved to improve health outcomes of patients and improve health system performance. Whether these innovations are in diagnostics, therapies or processes, their value is clear; and Ghana should seek to continuously improve through innovation.

“At Roche, our approach to improving cancer care is rooted in partnership,” said Dr. Philip Anderson of Roche. “We know it’s only by working with stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem that we will be able to correct unacceptable inequities in care and strengthen health systems for the future. Convening this conference is one step of many we’ll take to work with our partners to close the care gap for all people in Ghana.”

Roche has long been working to improve oncology care in Ghana. Most recently, through an expanded partnership agreement announced in 2021. Roche has worked with the Ministry of Health to launch new cancer treatment centres at key hospitals in Cape Coast, Ho and Tamale, with the goal of bridging geographic access barriers to quality cancer care; supporting capacity development and training for health care providers; and supporting awareness creation in communities.

This effort builds on a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Roche and the Ministry of Health in 2018 to conduct disease awareness programmes; increase screening to promote early detection; establish centres of excellence; improve diagnostic facilities at treatment centres; train specialists; develop a national cancer registry to better understand the disease burden; and establish national treatment guidelines.

Cancer is one of the most significant public health challenges in Ghana, with more than 24,000 new cases diagnosed in 2020 and more than 15,800 people dying from the disease. Of all cancers, breast cancer is the most pervasive – accounting for more than 18 percent of all new cancer cases in 2020, followed by liver cancer which accounted for more than 14 percent of all new cancer cases.

Ghanaians can face numerous challenges during their patient-journey, including health, mental, social and financial hurdles. Roche is committed to addressing these barriers to healthcare and the significant unmet needs for patients across Africa with a sense of openness and duty of care. Roche has made a long-term commitment to Ghana and the African continent, and will continue to invest in strengthening health systems and collaborating with partners to implement innovative solutions that are tailored to African countries’ specific needs.

Founded in 1896 in Basel, Switzerland, as one of the first industrial manufacturers of branded medicines, Roche has grown into the world’s largest biotechnology company and the global leader in in-vitro diagnostics. The company pursues scientific excellence to discover and develop medicines and diagnostics for improving and saving the lives of people around the world. We are a pioneer in personalised healthcare, and want to further transform how healthcare is delivered to have an even greater impact. To provide the best care for each person, we partner with many stakeholders and combine our strengths in Diagnostics and Pharma with data insights from the clinical practice.

In recognising our endeavour to pursue a long-term perspective in all we do, Roche has been named one of the most sustainable companies in the pharmaceuticals industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the thirteenth consecutive year. This distinction also reflects our efforts to improve access to healthcare together with local partners in every country where we work.

Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly-owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.

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