We arrived on Sunday night – my first trip to Ghana, along with Piera, our Statutory Grants Manager. Great to leave a cold wet London and arrive to a warm and dry Accra. On Monday we met with George, our Programme Coordinator in Ghana, and Prof Lorna Renner, the Professor of Paediatric Oncology at Korle Bu Hospital. Prof Lorna has almost single headedly raised the profile of childhood cancer services in Ghana and has been successful at gaining high level support for the brilliant work she does.
It was with some trepidation that we set off to follow Lorna around the wards as this was my first experience on a childhood cancer ward. My first impression was that in sharp contrast to many wards I have visited in recent years, these were spotlessly clean, brightly painted with murals and cartoon characters on the wall. This is a well run ship!
The wards have good numbers of staff who are really positively engaging with the many children and their parents who are there. Lorna, who is on a weeks leave but is in the hospital every day, knows every child and their treatment. There is a busy cheerful atmosphere – which is striking given how obviously very sick some of the children are. On the way in we met Akos, a smiley 3 year old who has lost one eye, but is running around and insists on shaking all our hands and treats Lorna as a favourite aunt. On the ward are some children who have arrived in the hospital with their disease very advanced and their survival is now not certain.
This programme in Ghana is funded with UK Aid from the UK government.