By Felicia Imohimi
Tai Aremu Cancer Awareness Campaign Organisation (TACACO), an NGO, has urged the Federal Government to establish cancer centres across the states to reduce financial burden on patients.
Mr Aremu Kuti, Executive Director of TACACO, made the call when the organisation visited some cancer patients at the National Hospital, Abuja on Monday, in commemoration of the World Cancer Day.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Cancer Day is commemorated annually on Feb. 4, to raise awareness about cancer, while the theme for 2019 is “I am and I will”.
Kuti, who frowned at the poor attention given to cancer in Nigeria, revealed that only two radiotherapy machines situated at the National Hospital was available in the entire country.
According to him, at the moment only one of the machine is functioning while the other one is faulty.
“Government is not doing enough about cancer. In the whole of this country only National Hospital have two radiotherapy machines of which one is already faulty.
“This means that everybody in Nigeria with cancer have to come to Abuja to access care which is not good enough
“Government should do more by investing in the health sector.
“Large number of these patients came from different parts of the country both far and near to access care and in the process large number will die due to lack of timely intervention, ” he said.
Kuti, however, encouraged patients to be cheerful and see cancer like headache and stomach pains.
According to him, cancer is a challenge that can happen to anyone irrespective of status.
Dr Jafaru Momoh, the Chief Medical Director, of the national hospital, Abuja, said cancer awareness was key in ending the disease.
Represented by Dr Oluwole Alaomi, Director of Clinical Services, Momoh described cancer as an abnormal growth.
According to him, the hospital has the best cancer centre in Africa but there is systemic problem, hence it is finding it difficult in attending to all patients across the federation.
“We need a lot of help and support for cancer care. We need people to understand with us.
”All these machines are not manufactured here. We need enough resources to make this service available and efficient.
“There are other hospitals that are spread round the country. There is systemic problem in terms of cancer care in Nigeria.
“If Sokoto, Ibadan among other hospitals have one of these machines the burden and the cost will be reduced,” he said.
Some of the cancer patients, however, appealed to the Federal Government to subsidise cost of treatment in order to reduce treatment burden on them and their families.
According to them, the cost of chemotherapy is N309,000 and we are expected to take it for 21 days.
“The cost of radiotherapy is N600,000 which is too much for us to bear. If government can reduce this cost and make this treatment available in various states the cost of transportation and treatment will be reduced,” they said.
NAN also reports that the NGO made presentation of fruits to the Chief Nursing Officer Adekemi Awonugba at the event.