Kumasi, Ghana – On May 6, U.S. Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan visited the HopeXchange Medical Center to launch the new Women’s Cancer Center, including a new Clinical Pathology Laboratory and Surgical Suite, which were largely funded by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The HopeXchange Medical Center is a modern specialist hospital, research center, and medical training facility. It was specifically designed to serve as a regional hub for medical training, research, and patient care to address public health priorities in sub-Saharan Africa, with particular expertise in maternal-child health, infectious diseases (including HIV and malaria), ophthalmology, and cancer. The Center is a unique broadly collaborative effort among the United States Government, Ghana’s Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Mission Foundation of Malta, the Catholic Church of Ghana, Yale University, HopeXchange Foundation, NGOs, and some of the world’s foremost academic and medical institutions from around the globe.
In her remarks, Ambassador Sullivan lauded the combined efforts of all partners in successfully launching the new Center. She said, “Deaths from breast and cervical cancers can be avoided if the disease is caught early. HopeXchange will improve early screening through community-based advocacy programs that raise public awareness, reduce stigma, and empower women and girls to seek preventative and curative cancer care [and] I am confident that by working hand-in-hand with the Government of Ghana, leading universities, the private sector, and communities, together we will continue to make a difference in saving women’s lives and chart a bright and healthy future for all Ghanaians.”
In his remarks, HopeXchange President Mario Cappello stated, “The dream of providing world class healthcare in breast and cervical cancer to the poor and needy in Ghana is being realized through the generous support of the United States of America through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).”
Through community-based screening, HopeXchange will support women to detect cancer early, when it can still be treated and cured. Research programs will seek to define cancer incidence in the Ashanti region and establish appropriate screening methods to improve outcomes.
Read Ambassador’s full remarks at the event below:
Inauguration of the HopeXchange Women’s Cancer Center
Remarks by Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan
HopeXchange Medical Center, Kumasi, Ghana
Monday, May 6, 2019 | 2:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Representative of the First Lady of the Republic, Her Excellency Rebecca Akufo-Addo (TBC);
Representative of the Minister of Health, the Honorable Kwaku Agyeman-Manu;
Regional Minister Simon Osei-Mensah;
Director General of Ghana’s Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare;
Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi, the Most Reverend Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye;
Members of the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
All protocols observed.
I’m honored to be here today in Kumasi to inaugurate the new Women’s Cancer Center at HopeXchange Medical Center. It is in fact a homecoming for me, as I spent a lot of time in this city when I first served in Ghana more than twenty years ago. My husband John and I are happy to return here to rekindle old friendships and build new ones.
On behalf of the government and people of the United States, I want to say Ayekoo! to everyone who contributed to making this facility a reality. I am honored to participate in the opening of this center, as the American people contributed significantly to its becoming reality, largely through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This Center underscores the spirit and visible results of the U.S.-Ghana bilateral partnership, which is centered on the goal to enhance the lives of Ghanaians across all sectors.
Today’s event highlights the powerful collaboration among the United States, HopeXchange, the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Mission Foundation of Malta, the Catholic Church of Ghana, multiple private sector partners, Yale University, and several other leading medical universities around the world.
Our partnership demonstrates a commitment to learning and problem-solving to build the capacity of graduate and medical students, clinical trainees, and faculty members in both Ghana and the United States. Our work builds on the long-standing relationship the United States enjoys with the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service through USAID and our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve outcomes across the areas of maternal and child health, nutrition, malaria, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS.
The United States is pleased to be a part of this robust partnership, which has resulted in the growth of this facility that now serves more than 400,000 people with 24-hour inpatient and outpatient services, specialized clinics, community outreach and screening in rural communities, and surgery. In addition, through funding from USAID’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad, we inaugurate today the establishment of the laboratory and surgical suite, which were the final two elements to completing the Women’s Cancer Center.
This new center will help Ghana fight the two top illnesses that kill women in Ghana – breast cancer and cervical cancer. Last year, nearly 7,800 Ghanaian women were diagnosed with cervical or breast cancer, and more than half of them died. The mortality rates for both diseases are staggering in Ghana. As a result of late diagnosis and screening, and inadequate facilities, too many women are losing their battles and suffering preventable deaths from these diseases. Most women visit the hospital only after they see the symptoms of the disease, at which point the cancer is often in its final stage.
The Women’s Cancer Center at HopeXchange Medical Center offers an opportunity for a different outcome. It is a thriving hub of collaborative research and training for Ghana medical professionals dedicated to the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of women’s cancers.
This center gives hope and a future to women who would otherwise be faced with a death sentence. Women like a 38-year-old widow and mother of five children I will call Sarah, who learned that she had advanced breast cancer as a result of a rural health screening in the Atwima Mponua District. HopeXchange provided Sarah with the mastectomy she needed to survive. Unable to pay, Sarah accessed surgery and treatment free of charge.
Thanks to the personalized, quality care she received, Sarah is hopeful that she will live to see her children grow up. In addition to providing state-of-the art treatment services, the Women’s Cancer Center goes beyond the walls of this facility to strengthen prevention and early detection efforts. Deaths from breast and cervical cancers can be avoided if the disease is caught early. HopeXchange will improve early screening through community-based advocacy programs that raise public awareness, reduce stigma, and empower women and girls to seek preventive and curative cancer care.
Through community-based screening, HopeXchange will support women to detect cancer early – when it can still be treated and cured. Research programs will seek to define cancer incidence in the Ashanti Region and establish appropriate screening methods for better results.
On behalf of the United States, I am delighted to partner with each of you in improving health outcomes in Ghana. There remains much work to be done, but I am confident that by working hand-in-hand with the Government of Ghana, leading universities, the private sector, and communities, together we will continue to make a difference in saving women’s lives and chart a bright and healthy future for all Ghanaians.
USAID is the lead U.S. government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. USAID has supported Ghana in increasing food security, improving basic health care, enhancing access to quality basic education, and strengthening local governance to benefit all Ghanaian people.