National Guideline for Cancer Management launched Over the Weekend 0

The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), in collaboration with Roche Ghana Limited, a Pharmaceutical Company, at the weekend launched the first National Guideline for Cancer Management in the country.

The 126-page Document was developed by a team of experts including surgeons, oncologists, paediatricians, pharmacists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, nutritionists, haematologists and epidemiologists.

The National Health Insurance Authority, the private sector and Non-Governmental Organisations were also involved in developing the Document, which was led and fully funded by Roche Ghana.

The Document is a follow-up to the National Strategy for Cancer Control in Ghana and provides tools and knowledge for various categories of health practitioners to make decisions regarding cancer patient care at their levels of competence.

Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director-General of the GHS, who launched the Document in Accra, explained that although the National Strategy for Cancer Control provided information on policy and the basis for control, it did not contain sufficient information on management.

He, however, commended Roche for the support and stakeholders for the extensive work and invaluable contributions towards the successful development of the Document.

“As a surgeon, I am all too aware of the havoc cancers cause in our society. This Document will contribute in no small way to reversing this trend,” he said.

Dr Nsiah-Asare said the Document was user-friendly with clear guidelines on activities for respective cancers at the various levels of care including referrals, while well laid out procedures were made available for easy usage by all healthcare professionals.

There was also information on the various laboratory investigations with respect to the levels of care, he said, adding that the inclusion of the very basic level of the health system; the Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS), in the Guideline, fitted very well in the country’s objective of achieving Universal Health Coverage.

Dr Nsiah-Asare noted that the Document also provided an opportunity for advocating for inclusion of other cancers in the benefit package of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

He, therefore, urged all to support the advocacy movement to ensure that the carefully thought out intentions of the Document to improve cancer care in Ghana was achieved.

He, however, said the current Guidelines was limited to the five most common cancers in Ghana, namely; breast, cervical, prostrate, lymphomas and childhood cancers, which were found to be amenable to curative treatment.

Childhood cancers, he explained, have now been included to complete the coverage of all age groups, and also because high cure rates could be achieved with standard care.

Dr Nsiah-Asare expressed satisfaction at the quality and detailed content of the Document and implored all healthcare practitioners to use it to benefit society.

Mr Joao Paulo Magalnaes, the Country Manager of Roche Product Ghana Limited, said the company believed that every cancer patient, irrespective of where they lived and financial status, deserved to be treated equally with the right standard of care.

This was the reason the Roche sponsored, financially, the development of the Guideline for the treatment of the five most prevalent cancers in Africa and congratulated the team of experts and their associate healthcare professionals for the good work.

He said Roche was the worldwide leader in cancer research and was very proud to have discovered and launched important life-saving medicines that brought hope to patients, their families and healthcare professionals.

Mr Magalnaes said apart from the several other innovative treatments being developed, the company would soon launch the first immuno-therapy that extended significantly the survival of breast cancer patients.

He said the Roche was also working with the GHS and MOH to ensure that Ghanaians also benefited from the innovations of the company with the aim to expanding its footprints to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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Radio drama improves people’s attitude to health 0

A radio drama project to promote child nutrition, agriculture and maternal/child health issues has shown an improved attitude of listeners to such issues.

According to the project implemented for six months at Saboba and Savelugu Assemblies in the Northern Region in 2018, those, who listened to the radio dramas on child nutrition, agriculture and maternal/child health issues, improved in terms of their attitude towards those issues compared to those, who did not listen.

The project, whose findings were released at a workshop in Tamale on Friday, used radio dramas to propagate messages on good nutrition, health and agricultural practices to listeners to assess if listening to such messages would have any impact on their lives.

It was implemented by the Texas A&M University School of Public Health in the United States, University for Development Studies (UDS), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Community Health Nurses Training College, Tamale.

Dr Mahama Saaka, Senior Lecturer, Department of Nutritional Sciences of UDS, who presented the findings at a forum in Tamale, said even though the attitude of listeners improved, it did not result in a change in their health conditions as malnutrition was still high at the area.

Dr Saaka suggested that Ghana Health Service scale up the project to reach a large number of the population to help change their attitudes to help improve the country’s health indicators.

Professor Lisako McKyer, Associate Dean for Climate and Diversity, Health Promotion and Community Health Science at Texas A&M University was hopeful that the project marked the beginning of a productive partnership amongst the implementers saying “Together, we can and we will positively impact the lives of all.”

Hajia Azara Amadu, Northern Regional Nutrition Officer lauded the project saying it was in line with the behavioural change campaigns of the GHS to promote improved health practices amongst the people.

Source: GNA

Teen Dies of Tapeworm infection after eating under-cooked Pork 0

A man died after eating under-cooked pork caused parasitic larvae to invade his brain.

The 18-year-old, who has not been named but is known to be from India, was rushed to a hospital after he lost consciousness following a seizure.

An MRI brain scan revealed the patient had cysts throughout his brain, with the damage being consistent with the life-threatening condition neurocysticercosis.

Neurocysticercosis occurs when parasitic larvae found in under-cooked pork build-up in the body until they invade the central nervous system, triggering seizures.

Despite doctors’ best efforts to save him, the man died two weeks later.

Results of an MRI scan revealed the man had numerous cysts in his cerebral cortex (pictured as white dots)
Lesions were also found in his brain stem and cerebellum (seen as white dots)

Results of an MRI scan revealed the man had numerous cysts in his cerebral cortex (pictured left as white dots). Lesions were also found in his brain stem and cerebellum (seen right)

The case report was written up in The New England Journal of Medicine by Dr Nishanth Dev, of ESIC Medical College, Faridabad, in the north Indian state of Haryana. Dr Dev treated the patient.

The man was rushed to ESIC Medical College after he endured tonic-clonic seizures.

These occur when an electrical discharge affects the entire brain and cause a patient to lose consciousness immediately.

Tonic-clonic seizures usually last one-to-three minutes.

If they continue for more than five minutes or in quick succession, the patient may require life-saving treatment.

Once at hospital, doctors noted the man seemed confused.

This is common of tonic-clonic seizures, with most patients feeling tired and disorientated for up to several days or even weeks after.

The man’s parents reported he had been complaining of pain in his groin for the past week.

A physical examination also revealed he had swelling in his right eye, as well as tenderness in his right testicle.

An MRI scan showed the patient had numerous cysts in his cerebral cortex – the outermost layer of the brain, which is responsible for thinking and processing information collected via our five senses.

Lesions were also in his brain stem, which is at the base of the vital organ, and sends messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

And cysts were found in his cerebellum – the area at the back of the brain that coordinates voluntary movements, like posture, speech and coordination.

Doctors noted the extent of the man’s brain damage was consistent with that of neurocysticercosis.

Neurocysticercosis occurs when the parasitic larvae Taenia solium invades bodily tissue from the intestine, and build ups in the central nervous system, muscles, skin and eyes.

Serum tests confirmed the man was infected with T. solium.

Doctors decided against treating him with antiparasitic drugs due to them typically worsening inflammation in those who have cysts in their brain.

These medications can also cause cerebral edema – excessive accumulation of water in the brain – and vision loss.

The man was therefore treated with the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone, which is more commonly used to relieve conditions like allergies, arthritis and psoriasis.

He was also given anti-epilepsy drugs.

Sadly, however, it was not enough to save him.


Neurocysticercosis is a parasitic infestation caused by larval cysts of the pork tapeworm Taenia solium.

These cysts can enter the brain, leading to life-threatening seizures.

People develop the condition by eating undercooked pork.

They may also swallow microscopic eggs passed in the faeces of a person with an intestinal tapeworm if they do not properly wash their hands after going to the toilet and contaminate surfaces or uncooked food.

The World Health Organization recognises neurocysticercosis as a leading cause of adult epilepsy worldwide.

Neurocysticercosis can be prevented through proper handwashing.

Treatment often involves medication to reduce swelling in the brain and kill tapeworms.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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