First Lady Rebecca Naa Okaikor Akufo-Addo yesterday commissioned an ultra-modern hostel at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to house childhood cancer patients and their families during the period of their treatment.
Named the Rebecca Akufo-Addo/GHAPACC Sunshine Hostel, the 54-bed facility, the first of its kind in Ghana and the largest in Africa, will provide great relief to children with cancer and their parents who sometimes have to travel long distances to seek medical treatment at the Korle-Bu Oncology Department.
In a brief speech to commission the facility, Mrs Akufo-Addo said on February 15, 2017, as Guest of Honour at a ceremony to mark International Childhood Cancer Day and ground-breaking for the construction of a hostel to house children undergoing treatment for cancer and their parents or guardians, she took up the challenge to expedite the construction of the hostel to not only bring relief to children with cancer and their parents, but also provide a better chance for childhood cancer patients to receive full treatment.
She said when caught early, treated early and comprehensively, and when the necessary resources are available, recovery is pretty high for childhood cancers. The absence of suitable accommodation for the duration of a child’s treatment, especially for those who travel from afar, often led to the abandonment of the treatment mid-stream. This, she said, could be the reason why about only 30 percent of expected number of children suffering from cancer attend the two treatment facilities in Accra and Kumasi.
Mrs Akufo-Addo said while putting up the facility was an arduous task, and she was not sure where the regular flow of funds to execute it would come from, she believed the project would be imperative to enhancing chances of recovery for childhood cancer patient, and thus persevered to its completion.
She said the facility was named ‘Sunshine Hostel’ because children are a ray of sunshine and their very presence encourages each and every one that tomorrow will be a better day. She prayed that the facility will bring a ray of hope, and provide respite from the rigours that come with childhood cancer treatment.
She extended her appreciation to her husband, President Akufo-Addo, and the Board, Management and Staff of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for their support in diverse ways towards realising this vision.
Cancer treatment drugs
The President of GHAPACC, Dr Felix Kwame Aveh, thanked the First Lady for her immense support in realising a long cherished dream. He said the hostel would greatly facilitate the treatment of cancer patients, and increase the rate of recovery. He however appealed to Mrs Akufo-Addo to assist them push for childhood cancer treatment drugs to be covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), as they are very expensive and serve as a discouragement to parents and guardians who seek treatment for their wards.
Chairman of the Board of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr David Nkansa-Dwamena, on behalf of management and staff, expressed a profound gratitude to Mrs. Akufo-Addo and the Rebecca Foundation for the enormous support extended to the hospital.