Kumasi Cancer Registry appeals for government and public support to sustain gains as Ghana’s first Cancer Registry

By: Ghana/Nhyira Fm/ Ohemeng Tawiah – Managers of the country’s first ever cancer registry are soliciting government and public support to sustain the work of the facility and make it reliable. The Kumasi Cancer Registry, set up about two years ago, looks to reach out to prayer camps, herbal centres and private health facilities to collect data on the disease for effective diagnosis and management.

CEO of KATH(seated middle) at the launchAt the official launch of the Population-based registry on Tuesday, managers however hinted lack of resources poses a threat to its sustenance. The Cancer registry provides caregivers in Kumasi the opportunity to improve services in the management of cancers, using adequate and reliable data.

According to the registry, 1, 070 cancer cases were recorded between 2012 and 2014, with a whopping 60 per cent of patients being women. More than 70 per cent of cancer cases in the metropolis are reported late in the hospitals, mostly in stage 3 or 4; given victims slim survival chances.

Experts at the Oncology Directorate of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital say many victims end up at prayer camps or resort to herbal treatment. The Kumasi Cancer Registry has since its establishment in 2012, been managed from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital’s coffers.

As a member of the African Cancer Registry Network (AFRCN) – a network of cancer registries from 20 countries with at least membership of 26 registries, the KCR has maintained some high class performances with its research and findings being published in international journals.

The registry is in dire need of funds, human resource and logistics. Manager of the facility, Dr. Denis Odai Laryea, wants government and general public to help resource the registry to make services more accessible to Ghanaians. He warned the current challenges affect efforts to extend coverage of the registry.

“The issue of sustainability it is probably the most important thing. Now we haven’t gone to any traditional healing or prayer camp because we don’t have the means; we don’t have the transport and we don’t even have the human resource to go round. There are private hospitals which we have not covered or even private pathology laboratories. Once we don’t have all those areas covered, then we say our coverage is limited”. Dr. Laryea revealed.

Nhyira Fm’s checks reveal there are plans to extend the operations of the registry to cover the entire Ashanti region to cover the entire 30 district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies. But such plans can only remain imaginary until the registry is fully resourced.

Dr. Laryea believes there is no time to waste in resourcing Ghana’s first-ever cancer registry. “The other thing has to do with logistics to run the operations. That is everything from computers, printers to scanners, all the things that we will need to be able to manage a registry and then an office space.

From academia, research, the corporate to government sector to non-governmental organizations; their help in any form will be very much appreciated”.  Dr. Denis Laryea. Chief Executive of the Komfo Anokye Hospital, Dr. Joseph Akpaloo, said he is happy about the gains made so far by the registry, adding it is in line with KATH’s center of excellent vision. He promised management’s support for the registry.