The “Enidaso” Healthcare Initiative on breast cancer was yesterday launched in Accra with a call on women to take the issue of breast care examination seriously to prevent breast cancer.
Mrs Lordina Mahama, First Lady, in address read for her by Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts at the launch in Accra, said early treatment was key to preventing death of breast cancer.
“Enidaso” is an initiative of AstraZeneca, a global research-based biopharmaceutical company, interested in providing health care service in cancer and respiratory infections.
AstraZeneca’s “Enidaso is to address challenges in treating breast cancer in Ghana, especially building capacity of health personnel and addressing affordability of treatment.
Mrs Mahama said the effects of breast cancer were serious, particularly when not detected on time “therefore advocacy and public education must target all sections of the society in order to get everybody talking and interested in working towards testing, early detection and treatment”.
The First Lady said government on its part, was undertaking specific actions through the Ministry of Health to strengthen cancer service organisations and health care delivery outlets, citing the recently new digital mammogram installed at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
She commended Dr Beatrice Wiafe-Addae, President of Breast Care International and Chief Executive Officer of Peace and Love Hospital for her invaluable service in the care and treatment of the disease.
Mrs Mahama also lauded the “Enidaso” project, describing it as a good opportunity for more public education and awareness about breast cancer.
Mr William Ofori, Country Manager, AstraZenca, said the “Enidaso initiative was to bring hope to people with Breast cancer in Ghana as well as help train health professional and other volunteers in the detection and treatment of the disease.
Another important aspect of the initiative was to reduce the prices of two main drugs use for the treatment of breast cancer by 60 to 80 percent, Mr Ofori noted.
“We are working to ensure access to medication and affordable drugs. Medicines like tomoxifen and anastrazole, for hormonal breast cancer treatment, which prices had been reduced from GHȼ12.00 to GHȼ6.00 will further be reduced to about four cedis,” Mr ofori explained.
Mr Karl Friberg, AstraZeneca Vice-President, Sub-Saharan Africa said similar “Enidaso” projects were being undertaking in Kenya, explaining that the Ghana initiative would focus on increasing the number of health care professionals who can diagnose and treat breast cancer as well as training volunteers who can provide patients support.
“The importance of the Enidaso programme lies in its enhancement and strengthening of existing resources and infrastructure to advance the treatment of breast cancer across Ghana,” he said.
He disclosed that, the initiative would be expanded to cover prostate cancer in 2014.
Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister for Health in an address read for her said the partnership between AstraZeneca was very important since it would help to control and prevent the needless deaths associated with breast cancer among women.
Three survivors of breast cancer, namely Mrs Janet Amegatse, a lawyer by profession, who has survived the disease for 13 years; Ms Theresa Bannerman, 18 year-old; and Ms Rebecca Quaye, seven years, all shared their experiences and called on women to make it their habit to check their breasts for lumps always.