10,000 Nigerians die of cancer annually — Minister

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, on Friday in Abuja said 10,000 Nigerians die annually due to agony and lack of basic equipment for treatment of cancer.

Mr. Adewole said this at the inauguration of the National Hospital’s Radiotherapy Centre with new Multilleave Lenear Accelerator for cancer treatment.

He attributed the number of deaths to lack of necessarily equipment and resources to attend to cancer patients.

The minister who described cancer as a worldwide disease that kills more people than the combination of Tuberculosis, infectious diseases and HIV, 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, Mr. Adewole commended the Wife of the vice president, Dolapo Osinbajo, for her passion in addressing the plight of cancer patients.

He emphasised that such passion had made it a reality for the centre to be operational and described it as a measure toward alleviating the plight of patients.

Noting the presence of one Multilleave Lenear Accelerator machine at the facility at the moment, he assured of increasing the number to two in order to forestall challenges of patients in the event of breakdown of one.

The minister pledged the Federal Government’s commitment to upgrade other seven cancer centres next year 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,’’ Mr. Adewole said.

Mr. Adewole who noted the standard practice of one machine to one million people, emphasised that considering the population of the country, Nigeria required 200 of such machines across the seven cancer centres in the country.

According to him, if such machines are in place they will adequately meet the challenges of the populace with regard to cancer care. (NAN)


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  • Mentus

    Nigeria always has a ‘Top Down’ approach to solving problems. They have not managed to reduce deaths resulting from treatable diseases and Malaria but are happy to pour money into cancer treatment which is capital intensive but incredibly expensive as well and can be protracted to treat. It is one thing to buy the equipment and another to maintain its functionality.
    Secondly how many cancer patients all over Nigeria will have access to these so called cancer centres, least of all afford it. The Primary Care centres are in a state of disrepair, basic medication like Paracetamol, Vitamins. And anti-Malaria tablets are not available and maternal and perinatal infantile mortality rate is highest in the world.
    Much as having a Cancer treatment centre is laudable, Ministry of health should prioritise according to what will benefit the majority of Nigerians with the meagre amount located to Health.

  • Akomeno u Oteri

    The Hon Minister of Health gave 2013 Statistics of Cancer Treatment Centres in Africa and that these were restricted to South Africa and Egypt. Be informed that as in 2017, Ghana has a functioning Cancer Treatment Centre which is catering to the West African Region. At any one time, you have at least four patients from all over Nigeria as well as patients from Ivory Coast, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal and of course Ghana. This Centre works because the workers from the Cleaners through the Drivers , Nurses, Front Office Staff to the Oncologists are all dedicated. The Nigerian Centre has a lot to learn from their “Big brother” in Accra Ghana on how to run the Nigerian outfit well.