Building human capacity: the backbone of cervical cancer prevention in Ghana

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This week to mark the Nurses Week Celebration in the Agotime Ziope District in the Volta Region of Ghana, the Member of Parliament, Hon. Charles Agbeve, is sponsoring cervical precancer screening for 200 women in the district. This is commendable.

How is this possible? Three midwives in the district have been trained in cervical cancer prevention skills. Ms. Sakina Ametepe and Ms. Abibatu Pio have completed Module 1 of the training programme at the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre (CCPTC) in Catholic Hospital, Battor. Ms. Kate Dzantor Etuoworsi has completed both Modules 1 and 2 and is equipped with a thermal coagulator to treat precancerous lesions of the cervix.

With a cervical cancer screening coverage of less than 3% in Ghana, the country has a lot to do to reach out to the women at risk. While this gesture (of offering free screening) by our politicians and philanthropists is commendable, a real sustainable solution is to have cervical precancer screening covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme. This can only be possible if there are health personnel across the country who are trained to do the screening and equipped to treat precancerous lesions of the cervix.

Having the knowledge is not enough. We need to act. We need trained and equipped people on the ground to fight cervical cancer, the second commonest cancer among women in Ghana.
Capacity building is the backbone to cervical cancer prevention in Ghana.

Dr. Kofi Effah is a gynaecologist and head of the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre in Catholic Hospital, Battor in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region of Ghana.

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