Wife of the Kebbi State governor and founder, Medicaid Cancer Foundation, Zainab Bagudu, has called for provision of screening services at Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) across the country for early detection of cancer.
This, she said will also increase cancer awareness at community level.
The first lady made the call in Abuja weekend during the annual walk away cancer event, organised by the Medicaid Cancer Foundation and the office of the first lady of Kebbi State.
She said, “Awareness I would say is still in the region of four, five. I say this because the majority of Nigerians live in the rural areas and the majority of Nigerians in the rural areas still will access care from a traditional medical healer before they go to the hospital.
“So, we need to include our primary healthcare centres in these awareness and provide screening services at the primary health care level where our people in the village can go when they see lumps , where we can teach them what to do and we can most importantly provide them with solutions.”
According to her, the walk away cancer was initiated by the Medicaid Cancer Foundation nine years ago, first of all to create awareness against the deadly disease of cancer, which affects so many people worldwide.
“We create awareness, we also raise funds; we sell merchandise, we encourage the multi-national companies to sponsor the walk.
“This way we are able to generate funds to help indigent cancer patients in Nigeria. We also come together in such a large group to make a statement to the policy makers, to the government and even the pharmaceuticals.
“So, in the last nine years, the call is getting louder, that means the number of people that are aware and think that ‘hang on I can do something about this’ are getting more.
“And of course, the number of people we are able to help is more.”
The director of clinical services at the National Hospital Abuja, Dr Aisha Umar, said cancer patients account for 40 per cent of patients that the hospital received and they come at different stages.
“But the problem is that they come late because of this the outcome is not the way we expect.
“We want people to be aware that there is a disease called cancer that can kill if we discover late, that is why there is a need for us to let people know that there is a need to check when they are doing a routine examination, so that we can find it on time.
“If cancer is diagnosed in the first, second stages, the outcome is better, but most time we see it in the third and fourth stages and the outcome is not usually good.”
Present at the event were the representatives of the first lady, Aisha Buhari and minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, musicians and actors.