Monday, 7 February 2011

World Cancer Day

To mark World Cancer Day, the Ghana Health Service and Cancer Society of Ghana held a series of events in Accra to raise awareness of cancer. 

The program of the day included a march by 500 school children to the National Hockey Stadium which was followed by speeches to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer amongst the general public. 

Here are some snaps of the team, and the unveiling of AfrOx's Cancer Prevention posters...

To see the posters in all their glory, click here.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Palliative Care Conference

Palliative care is an essential component of cancer care. Pain and symptom control, coupled with counselling and spiritual care, enables patients to die with dignity, preventing a painful and distressing death.

Research has shown, however, that 79% of the global morphine supply is used by only 6 countries (USA, Canada, France, Germany, Australia and Britain). In Africa, there are also restrictions on the prescription of morphine because of fears about addiction. Without access to palliative care, most cancer patients in Africa die in considerable pain. 

At the end of January, AfrOx - in partnership with the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Ghana Health Service - ran a palliative care workshop at the Korle Bu teaching hospital in Accra. There were 111 participants, ranging from medical students to social workers, representing nine of Ghana's ten regions.

The workshop gave an overview of what work is currently being done in Ghana on palliative care, and introduced models of palliative care being used in other African countries, including Uganda, Egypt and Tanzania. Discussions ranged from practical issues - such as pain medication - to ethics; while role-plays helped participants to explore how best to communicate with patients.
Before the conference, participants wanted to find out more information about what their role (as doctor, nurse, pharmacist, social worker), was in delivering palliative care to terminally ill patients.  They wanted a greater understanding of treatment methods and drugs involved in palliative care, and to know how to identify pain in patients, especially when dealing with a child. We hope that the conference has armed them with the tools they need to start developing effective methods of palliative care in Ghana.

To find out more about our palliative care programme, click here.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Cancer is a Runaway Train

In October, we launched the AfrOx film competition, giving amateur film-makers the brief of making a short film to raise awareness about cancer in Africa.

At present, cancer kills more than 7 million people per year and is responsible for more deaths worldwide than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.  It is estimated that if no action is taken, the situation will continue to deteriorate and by 2020 it is expected that there will be 16 million new cases per year.  70% of these new cases will occur in the developing world.

As Alan Milburn, former UK Secretary of State for Health and Chairman of AfrOx, described it,
"The rising incidence of cancer in Africa is like a runaway train coming down the track."

It was this "runaway train" that the competition winners, Hazel Taylor and Ben Donaldson used as the basis of their winning video...

The video was launced on World Cancer Day, in association with the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), as part of the Cancer Prevention 4 Africa campaign.

To find out more about the campaign, click here.