Combating breast cancer demands conscious collaboration – Prof. Appiah Amfo

Leadership of Trust Hospital and some dignitaries at the launch of Pink October 2023

… as available statistics indicate worrying trends

Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo has called for deliberate collaboration between healthcare institutions, advocacy groups, universities, communities, and individuals to combat the worrying trends of breast cancer.

The Breast Society of Ghana in August this year indicated that 50 percent of the over 4,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer die every year.

Prof Appiah Amfo emphasised the need for collective strength and tenacity among everyone to address the persisting multifaceted challenges of breast cancer, reiterating that together, knowledge and expertise can be leveraged to provide comprehensive care, support, and education to those affected by this disease.

Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana

She said this at the launch of the Trust Hospital 2023 Pink October Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Accra. “This year’s theme, ‘Managing Together: A Step in Closing the Gap,’ is a reminder that we must stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to bridge the gaps in awareness, access to healthcare, and support for those affected by this disease.

“It underscores the fact that no single entity or individual can tackle this complex issue alone. Rather, it calls for a unified front where healthcare institutions, advocacy groups, universities, communities, and individuals come together to make a difference. Our collective efforts are a vital step toward reducing the impact of breast cancer on individuals and society as a whole,” she said.

Prof. Appiah Amfo added that to champion the agenda, the University of Ghana has also been actively involved in research and contributions towards understanding and combating breast cancer.

“Our researchers have dedicated themselves to advancing knowledge about the disease, exploring new treatment options, and enhancing early detection methods. We have worked diligently to provide a platform for collaboration among experts and institutions both locally and internationally,” she said.

She, therefore, commended Trust Hospital for its unwavering commitment and dedication in the areas of breast cancer advocacy for over a decade and a half.

Dr. Juliana Ameh, Chief Executive Officer of the Trust Hospital

For her part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Trust Hospital, Dr. Juliana Ameh reaffirmed her outfit’s longstanding commitment to leading the conversation on breast cancer awareness in Ghana.

She reiterated that advocacy towards eradicating the cancer from the society can only yield results if it is seen as a collaborative effort among committed institutions and individuals.

“We believe a more collaborative approach is needed. Collaborative care has proven ideal in other areas of healthcare, so why not replicate that same method of engagement? The importance of women, who constitute more than half of the adult Ghanaian population, to socioeconomic development means that businesses, social enterprises, religious organisations, policymakers, and nonprofits must work together to build a formidable coalition against this threat to women’s lives and livelihoods.

“At Trust Hospital, we welcome every collaborative outreach for breast cancer awareness because it is our social responsibility. That’s why we dedicate the entire month of October to a month-long campaign, allocating both financial and human resources towards ensuring that women, especially, hear about breast cancer and take action towards screening and other investigations,” she said.

Highlighting that early detection of breast cancer goes a long way to avert the complications of the disease and prevent death, she beckoned everyone to join in raising awareness.

She urged human resource managers of corporate Ghana to include clinical breast examinations as part of their annual employee engagement activities. This, she said, will go a long way in spreading awareness within the corporate world across different industries.

Chief Medical Staff at Trust Hospital, Dr. Nana Ama Abankwa disclosed that Trust Hospital has dedicated all its nine facilities to offer free screenings throughout October. She added that the hospital is offering a 50 percent discount on all breast scans and mammograms throughout the month. She therefore appealed to all stakeholders and the general community to come on board to sponsor women for mammograms so they can get the comprehensive care needed.

Facility head at Trust Hospital Premium Centre, Dr. Edith Yaaba Swanzy on the other hand, introduced the Well Women clinic now known as the Wellness clinic to participants, assuring them of their zeal towards preventive healthcare, lifestyle modifications, and disease management.

The Wellness Clinic at The Trust Hospital is designed to empower individuals to take proactive steps toward a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It focuses on comprehensive health screenings, vaccinations, lifestyle counselling, chronic disease management programs, and nutritional guidance. Activities outlined to mark this year’s pink October includes a health walk, in-housing screening, visit to a selected prison, schools and markets in the Greater Accra region, where they will educate and screen individuals.

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