A Paediatrician at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and Host of Ultimate Staying Alive Dr. Lawrence Osei Tutu has called on traditional leaders in various villages and towns across the country to educate people on cancer related cases to seek early treatment in the hospitals.
He entreats people living with cancer to seek care from appropriate sources.
Dr. Osei Tutu further advised conventional medical practitioners and faith based healers to work together to ensure that patients with suspected symptoms of cancer report early. for treatment.
‘Sometimes before the patient comes to see the Doctor in the consulting room, he/she has gone to a fetish priest, prayer camp, chemical seller shops, pharmacy, before they come to a Doctor, you are fixed choice,’ he observed.
Ghana today joins the rest of the world to celebrate world cancer day under the theme ‘we can, I can’.
The Paediatrician encouraged village folks, faith based healers and traditional leaders to partner with KATH on managing patients with cancer.
‘It takes partnership to treat cancer patients; we should find a way of partnering with faith based healers, so that we can heal that sick person. The faith based healer gets the patients first, we should stop kidding ourselves and thinking that these patients trust us or say because we got medicine, we have the right, we are not doing that right,’ he asserted.
According to him, curing cancer is a two way thing where faith based healers should come to a realisation that there is some physical help for the patients.
‘Conventional medicine practitioner must come to the realisation that you aren’t got the patients alone. Somebody is doing something for the patient. Let’s work with that somebody else, so that the person can come early, we treat him/her and we all get good results,’ he urged.
Speaking on Ultimate breakfast hosted by Prince Minkah, Dr. Osei Tutu expressed worry that 7 out of 10 kids are dying out of cancer at the KATH Paediatric cancer unit.
‘The truth is that if I take 100% kids passing through paediatric cancer unit of KATH, 70% of them are dying. I cannot say this as a banner and say this is a positive outcome so come and let me treat you, it’s bad, so it’s difficult to change that so that is why am saying let’s move in to educate not just the common folk. Let’s be specific, target people who our patients go to see, then you educate them, they believe in elders so catch them and talk to them,’ he stated.
‘Let’s give it a goal and change the way we do things. We must spread the news that it’s possible, that a child can have cancer, it’s not strange. We need to get down to the traditional people very well and speak with them, so that we can all win. As it is, we are all losing thinking that we are winning. Children are our future, we can include cancer issues in our curriculum and organise quizzes,’ he suggested.
He hinted that just a few patients are cured because they have the resources to undergo treatment, adding that the focal cancer facilities do not receive any funding from the government.
‘Parents have to bear cost, it is bad; but there are children who get cured in the country because their parents are empowered, have the knowledge and have the money. None of the main two major cancer treatment facilities receives funding from government,’ he stated.