The Chief Medical Doctor at the Hope for Women International Clinic, Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, has called on Liberians suffering from several types of cancer to take advantage of the humanitarian health services at her clinic as the disease can be cured with early detection.
Dr. Jallah said lack of money should not be the cause of people dying with sicknesses that are curable. ‘’We are here for everyone, mainly the poor people who cannot afford to pay for medical services,’’ she said.
She was speaking at a ‘Women’s Reproductive and Breast Cancer Awareness Screening and Support program’ held at her clinic in Paynesville over the weekend.
Quoting a statistic from the Ministry of Health, Jallah said about 3,000 people in Liberia have been diagnosed with cancer of all types over the past four years.
“As alarming as the number is, there is a great need for more awareness to be created for cancer patients to visit the clinic and seek proper and professional medical advice and treatment,’’ Dr. Jallah said.
She said breast, prostate, cervical and eye cancers account for the highest rate of cancers in the country and are in most cases mistaken for some other diseases.
Dr. Joseph L. Kerkulah, Director of the Family Health Division at the Ministry of Health, spoke of how the disease is on the increase in the country and therefore cautioned everyone to join the Hope for Women International family to create awareness so that those who are faced with the disease can receive appropriate care.
“In 2008, a survey done by the Ministry of Health registered that 37.7 percent of women across the country were affected by cancer; and of that percentage, 34.1 consisted of cervical cancer,’’ Dr. Kerkulah said.
He said people need to be vigilant and pay serious attention to their health as they make life decisions.
“Eat the right diet and be on the watch for signs of sickness, specifically cancer that eats the body gradually,’’ he said, adding that people having sex with multiple partners should be aware that it is not only AIDS and syphilis, among other sexually transmitted diseases they can acquire, but cervical and prostate cancer from an infected person.
Dr. Kerkulah said MOH is in support of Hope for Women International Clinic’s initiative and will help in disseminating information about preventing cancer and providing other needed support for the success of the war against the disease in the country.
A representative from the World Health Organization (WHO) at the event, Madam Lilian Luwaga, said Liberians and many other Africans lack the practice of going for medical check-ups before getting sick, and as a result, they often blame witchcraft and wizards for deaths.
“WHO encourages people to know their health status and understand the risks associated with health related negligence,’’ she said.
Madam Luwaga said people who smoke cigarettes and take in other harmful drugs can transmit cancer and other sicknesses to others who don’t smoke.
She added her voice to the call that people should pay attention to healthy diet and exercise.
The program was preceded by a parade and later marked with performances and certification of several nurses for their invaluable services offered to patients who seek medical treatment at the clinic.