Sen. Adeleke Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, says the Federal Government is committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure significant improvement in the country’s oncology practice.
Mamora made this known on Tuesday in Abuja during the 2020 International Cancer Week (ICW) with the theme: ”Cancer in Nigeria in the COVID-19 era and beyond’’.
He said that the event was meant to provide a platform for all stakeholders to create awareness and foster collaboration to fight cancer in the nation.
“Cancer has gradually become a disease of public health concern as the incidence is now more than some infectious diseases including HIV and AIDs.
“This underscores the increasing attention given to it. It has become imperative for all the stakeholders to jointly fight cancer in Nigeria,” Mamora said.
He said the theme became necessary to address the challenges of cancer care which had been compounded by the pandemic of COVID-19 all over the world.
“I must state here that the development of a National Hospice and Palliative Care Policy is a mission accomplished for me,” he said.
Mr Elijah Elijah, the Secretary General of the Nigerian Cancer Society (NCS), commended the effort of the government to massively fight the cancer pandemic.
He said it was very necessary for the country to invest in the right direction to ensure that cancer was properly addressed.
“The ICW project should be sustained and well supported to triumph beyond all odds because it is a major hope reawakening for cancer patients and survivors including their relatives,” Elijah said.
He said that the country needed to change the cancer narrative as such would save the country from the catastrophic effects of the disease.
Dr Minnie Oseji, the National President, Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN) said the body inaugurated a project on Women’s Right to Health Information (WORTH) on cancer screening for early detection of cancer of the cervix.
Oseji said that the inauguration was part of the association’s activities to commemorate cancer awareness month, adding that the target was to screen 6,000 women across the country over the next six months.
According to her, the association advocates that screening of cancer should not be opportunistic but mandatory.
“Health personnel should by trained, cancer screening centres should be equipped and made accessible as well as affordable to women who need the service.’’
She said the association therefore called for the vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) to be incorporated into the National Programme for Immunisation schedule.
“States should be supported to establish cancer registries and five-year survival rate of cancer patients should be used as an indicator for tracking progress in cancer control.
“National and state Health Insurance Scheme should be incorporated for at least partial coverage for cancer treatment,” Oseji said.