By Ifeanyi Nwoko
In a bid to create awareness for the prevention, early detection and control of cancer, the Founder-President, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs Toyin Saraki, hosted key stakeholders to a meeting to review the cancer assessment report.
The meeting which held in Abuja brought together Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; the Vice-Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Clifford Odiar; the West Africa Regional Director, Amref, Dr. Sylla Thiam; the Country Director, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson, Mitchelle Akande; among others.
The Rapid Assessment of the Prevention and Control of Cancer in Nigeria report, is a collaborative study undertaken by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, with support from Amref Health Africa.
Speaking at the vent, Mrs Saraki who is the wife of the President of the Nigerian Senate, told the stakeholders that she was optimistic that the review meeting will proffer solutions that can key into the National Cancer Control Plan.
“I want to thank everyone who has made this event possible, and I believe that those of us present can harness our wealth of knowledge to key into the National Cancer Control Plan.
“We must teach our people and engage them to stop high risk behaviours, and to be best positioned to detect cancer at the early stage, when it is most cost-effective to treat.”
“The biggest challenge in development is transforming global goals and national goals into grassroots actions.
“I would want to quote Margaret Meade in saying we must never doubt the power of a small group of people united with a common purpose; and our purpose is to prevent cancer, detect cancer, and provide infrastructures to be able to respond to the needs of our people in relation to all types of cancer.
“I would like to again thank everyone present; Amref Health Africa for your partnership and the Federal Ministry of Health for giving civil society such a role in taking the traction from what you have begun,” she said.
Mrs Saraki who was recently named by Devex as a Global UHC Champion and Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) urged the stakeholders to come up with recommendations that will help address the problem of cancer in Nigeria.
Also speaking at the opening of the meeting, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the government was currently pushing to strengthen the training of cancer-related healthcare workers.
He said that it was the plan of government to improve infrastructure and strengthen service delivery for cancer care, including prevention and palliative care.
“We welcome inter-sectoral collaborations, as well as partnerships with local and global stakeholders in order to improve awareness and information on preventive practices, as well as encouraging early diagnosis and management of all cancers,” he said.
Dr. Sylla Thiam of Amref, she commended Wellbeing Foundation Africa for carrying out the study, stressing that the timing was very apt considering that the disease has taken a toll on the country.