When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the financial burden is on the parents, who will do their best to see their child lives.

The sleepless nights and emotional turmoil experienced by loved ones of the sick child can only be imagined.

But a Consultant Paediatrician is highlighting four ways the burden could be reduced for parents, especially those that are under government agencies and parastatals. 

She also identified one way people can help reduce the cause of this deadly disease. 

The Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, spoke in Abuja on Sunday.

1. Inclusion of cancer treatment in health insurance coverage. She wants the Federal Government to act on this.

2. Prioritise investment in equipment for the treatment of the disease.

3. The don also underscored the need for the government to constitute a committee on cancer in children just as the Non-Communicable Diseases Committee which focuses on adults.

According to her, such a committee would help curb cancer menace in children and assist in reducing the financial burden on parents.

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"Treating childhood cancer costs a lot of money and majority of the people affected come from low socio-economic group and cannot afford to buy the drugs as one injection costs as much as 7,000 Naira.

"Secondly, patients may need a lot of blood transfusion which is very expensive.

"Besides, we lack equipment to harvest the requisite components to sustain their lives and this is worrisome," she stated.

4. Tackling of environmental pollution

The Paediatrician also expressed concern over the incidence of cancer in children in Nigeria, which she said was alarming.

Environmental pollution and other factors were the major cause of the increase, she highlighted.

She noted that dangerous activities such as bomb blast, oil pollution, pipeline vandalism among others, release toxic waste into the environment which is deadly to human health.

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The don identified cancer as one of the major causes of mortality in the country and expressed concern that the government was not paying attention to childhood cancer.

According to her, some children are more susceptible to cancer than others when exposed to harmful toxic substances due to baseline malnutrition such as micro-nutrient deficiency.

She added that genetic factors also predispose children to cancer.

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