BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day, the Nigeria Cancer Society in collaboration with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the African Health Budget Network (AHBN) have called for reactivation of the International Cancer Centre.
They said if reactivated and put to use, the Centre will benefit the growing population of cancer patients in the country.
Speaking at a media Parley to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day, themed: “I am and I will”, the President/CEO, Nigerian Cancer Society, Dr Adamu Alhassan Umar, noted that it’s been more than a decade since the idea of the cancer centre was conceptualised and it is yet to see the light of the day.
According to him, the 5-year survival of cancer in the county is abysmally low because of multiple factors including but not limited to; late presentation, lack of awareness, weak health infrastructure, poverty and high cost of cancer care with associated catastrophic impact on family finances.
Ensuring that every cancer patient has access to standard care without undue catastrophic impact on the family finances is one of the cardinal goals of Nigerian Cancer Society, he said.
Speaking further, Umar said the collaboration with the AHBN and the NMA is to explore avenues to achieving this goal. “Moving forward, we will set up tracking mechanisms to ensure cancer related funds in the budget are released and judiciously spent, particularly the catastrophic cancer fund.”
Meanwhile, the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), said it is targeting 6,000 women for screening across the country.
National President of MWAN, Dr. Minnie Oseji, said MWAN commenced in October 2019 the Women’s Right to Health Information (WORTHI) project on Breast-Self Examination (BSE) for early detection of Breast Cancer wherein 12,078 persons were provided with health information on BSE.
She said the Association also launched in October 2020 the WORTHI Project on cervical screening that has provided 19 States with fliers on cervical screening, supported cervical screening for 278 women as well as contributing to paying for the treatment of a case of cervical cancer.
Oseji said MWAN has also supported the treatment of three cases of breast cancer through the generous donations of its members particularly.
“We have raised a total of N2,084,000. Our target is the screening of 6000 women across the nation. The project is still on-going and we are confident that with the flurry of cervical screening going on simultaneously in several States, we should be close to our target by the end of February 2021,” she said.