Saturday, May 20, 2023
I got ’emotional’ this morning. Our alumni received their money for the mPharma 10,000 Women Initiative this week. This was a project from mPharma that was to offer cervical precancer screening with HPV DNA testing to 10,000 women in Ghana and Nigeria (6,000 women in Ghana and 4,000 women in Nigeria). The Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre (CCPTC) in Catholic Hospital, Battor led the project in Ghana and screened women in all 16 Regions in the country. The work was presented at the 35th International Papillomavirus Conference in Washington D.C., USA last month.
Each CCPTC alumna received a token of GHS 2 for each woman screened. It was a ‘token’ we put in the budget before we started but the alumni who screened the women were not aware there was any money for screening so they did the work ‘from their hearts,’ not expecting to be paid.
One of them received her money and sent me a message this morning. She informed me about how much she had received, and asked me how much I received. I told her I didn’t receive anything. She was shocked. She asked me why. I replied that the leader is the last to eat. When there is no food left, the leader does not eat. She wanted to give me some of her money. I declined.
What I didn’t tell her is that I was offered a position as consultant for the project (and was to be paid ‘a token’). I declined it because I didn’t want any conflicts of interest. Our hospital benefitted, getting a PCR machine worth over $20,000.
Is it that I don’t want money? Of course, I need money. Often, it takes a lot of sacrifices to achieve some results. I was more interested in a bigger picture, a project that will benefit the country for many years to come, and we achieved that. It wasn’t about me first. The CCPTC and its alumni didn’t disappoint. One day, the leader will also eat, when others have eaten well.
Dr. Kofi Effah is a gynaecologist and head of the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre (CCPTC) in Catholic Hospital, Battor in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region of Ghana.