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Investing more in cancer care would be beneficial to Nigeria – Adewole

Investing more in cancer care would be beneficial to Nigeria – Adewole

Isaac Adewole, Nigeria’s former minister of health and member of the Lancet Commission on Oncology, has stated that Nigeria would gain more as a country by investing in cancer care and treatment. “We will gain more as a country when we offer treatment to our people. Then they will develop trust in public health and we will give them confidence about getting quality care”.

He stated this during the one-day roundtable presentation with Oncologists and heads of Federal Medical Centers across Nigeria to discuss the theme ‘bridging the gap in cancer care’ organised by Stepcho Nigeria limited in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health and BEBIG Medical, one of the world’s leading radiotherapy manufacturing companies in Germany.

The roundtable was organised recently in Abuja to introduce the stakeholders to the new BEBIG LINAC radiotherapy machine, used to generate beam radiation treatments for cancer patients using high-energy x-rays to destroy the cancer tumours without damaging the surrounding tissue.

Adewole, who pointed out that Nigeria needs more machines however, noted that the theme of the conference ‘bridging the gap in cancer care’ is apt as it tallies with the efforts of the federal government in the expansion of the national health insurance scheme (NHIS) to help subsidise the cost of cancer treatment.

“Ideally, we need at least four machines for one million people to offer effective treatment. There shouldn’t be less than 200 machines working in Nigeria. We have only two machines working in Nigeria. So, there is room for 198 machines in Nigeria. The provision of these machines would prevent Nigerians from going out of the country to access care,” Adewole stated.

Sunday Adewuyi, head of Radiology and Oncology department, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), on his part stated that the number of clinical oncologists and oncology nurses in the country has increased since 2011. “As at 2011, we had 18 radiation and clinical oncologists in this country. Today we have 100 clinical oncologists and 100 oncology nurses in Nigeria”.

Read also: ‘Niger Delta requires cancer specialist centre as gas flaring fingered in leukemia prevalence’

He however lamented that the number of radiotherapy machines have not yet increased, and therefore called for more machines as part of cancer management and the setting up of comprehensive cancer centres in the country.

Benjamin Udiri, representative of Stepcho Nigeria, stated that there is a need to further strengthen the current collaboration between the private and public sector in providing newer and more efficient solutions, and support to oncologists in Nigeria’s healthcare industry.

“Our core business over the years has been to distribute medical equipment and facilities to all hospitals in need of intensive care. We engage in businesses that efficiently affect the nation, particularly healthcare. Our specialist fields include medical lightning, medical audio-visual systems, medical power systems, operating theatre control panels, medical architecture equipment and more,” Udiri stated.

Hamidi Medina Sabrina and Mohammadi Reza, Bebig’s sales directors, stated that the new BEBIG LINAC machine is designed to deliver cancer care services to both public health and private hospital across every state and territory in Nigeria. They assured stakeholders that the company would have a local team on ground to help with after sales care and maintenance.