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Institute Cancer Policy Now ― Dr Nyarkotey

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Fifteen months after an election campaign which featured many historic commitments, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government may soon be under pressure to move ahead with what it had promised.

Outspoken and controversial Professor of Alternative Medicine, Dr Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, has asked government to bring to fruition its ‘Cancer Policy’ campaign promise, made in 2016, prior to the general elections.

Chapter 10 of the NPP’s 2016 manifesto had recognised the increasing incidence of cancers (childhood cancers, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate and other cancers) as a national problem and had promised to “establish centres at all levels of our healthcare delivery system for screening, diagnosis, early detection and prevention of these cancers.”

These, they said would be catered for under a restructured and revitalised NHIS.

Speaking at a Public Lecture on Alternative Medicine at Ashaiman on Saturday, Nyarkotey Obu, said the promise was long overdue, adding that the bane of cancer on the Ghanaian populace seem to be increasing by the minute.

“People are dying, people are disturbed…they have promised the people and they must fulfil what they promised the people. As early as possible they need to tell us something,” he said.

Though a fortnight ago, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection had instituted a Cancer Board for breast and cervical cancers, Dr Nyarkotey Obu says, it not encompassing enough to address the prevalence of cancer in the country.

He argues that a cancer policy should be holistic―with the ability to address all cancers, not just breast and cervical.

“I think it is discriminatory because the ministry of gender itself is not only for women and if you look at the statistics in terms of mortality rate, prostate cancer overtakes breast and cervical cancer but in terms of incidence rate, you’d realise that the cervical and breast cancer rates are on the increase,” he explained.

Dr Nyarkotey continued: “But the problem is the mortality rate. If they are looking at the mortality rate to create a cancer board, then we should be looking at liver cancer which is about 90% of deaths.”

Involve Alternative Medicine in the Fight

The alternative medical practitioner believes government may not win the fight against cancers if they keep turning a blind eye to the importance of traditional and alternative medicines.

According to him, the first point of call for about 70 to 80 percent of people saddled with cancer is the traditional practitioners.

To make alternative medicine safe for the people of Ghana, Dr Obu argues that government must “find ways and means to train traditional healers so that when there is a problem, they would know that there is a whole referral pathway.”

He says “There should be a good relationship between alternative and conventional medicine because at the end of the day you are improving the quality of life.

Conventional treatment is Harsh

“People are afraid of the side effects of the conventional treatment of cancers so why don’t you develop a programme to address the side effects of cancer treatment?” Dr. Obu asked.

He noted that treatment should be holistic, adding that “when you say holistic approach, you are exercising all forms of modalities in the treatment of the disease.

The public lecture was organised by the Dr. Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine and is the first ever lecture on Alternative Medicine.

Present at the event were the Oklepeme Nuer Anorbaah Sasraku II, Konor of Yilo Klo State, the Chief of Ashaiman, Nii Annan Adzor, Nana Okofo Twum, Chief of Assin Dansame and Oheneba Ntim Barima of Oman FM.

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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