Cancer Kills 10,000 Nigerians Annually - Minister
Cancer is a worldwide disease that kills more people than the combination of Tuberculosis, infectious diseases and HIV.
One thing is to have the deadly disease, but the thought of not being able to access treatment due to lack of equipment could worsen the impact and make death come faster than it should.
In Nigeria, at least 10,000 people die annually due to agony and lack of basic equipment for the treatment of cancer.
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, gave this figure on Friday at the National Hospital in Abuja.
It was a ray of hope for cancer patients, as Professor Adewole inaugurated the National Hospital’s Radiotherapy Centre with new Multilleave Lenear Accelerator for cancer treatment.
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The minister decried the lack of resources to cushion the effect of cancer.
He said: “Based on the review of International Atomic Energy Agencies of all countries conducted in 2013 only South Africa and Egypt have the capability of treating cancer and described the situation as worrisome".
Speaking on the inaugurated facility, Adewole commended the Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, for her passion in addressing the plight of cancer patients,
Such passion, he said, made it a reality for the centre to be operational and described it as a measure toward alleviating the plight of patients.
There is just one Multilleave Lenear Accelerator machine at the facility at the moment, but the Minister assured Nigerians that another machine would be made available soon to forestall challenges of patients in the event of breakdown of one.
He pledged the Federal Government’s commitment to upgrading other seven cancer centres in 2018 in order to minimise the burden of cancer and associated death rates in the country.
“What is important is that the machine has been put to work and upgraded and it is an opportunity for linking those network, treatment modalities that are new.
“Anybody coming to this centre will get the right treatment. With the right complaint, we will minimise our treatment damages to neighbouring organs so that we can be more precise with respect to treatment that we offer.
“We are making moves to have two new machines that can treat people and also pledge to complete this centre to become the first of its kind in Nigeria,’’ Adewole told the gathering.
Considering Nigeria's population, the nation requires 200 of such machines across the seven cancer centre.
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Earlier, Dr Jafaru Momoh, the Chief Medical Director of National Hospital, said the radiotherapy unit which included women, men and children was first inaugurated in 2000.
Momoh said it has been operational till February this year when it finally broke down due to overstretched among others.
He noted that the new centre had facility for one CT Simulator and two Radiotherapy Bunkers.