Nigerian govt laments lack of engineers to repair faulty cancer machines

A cancer machine [Photo credit:]

The Federal Government has decried the lack of biomedical engineering companies to fix broken cancer treatment machines in the country.

Ramatu Hassan, National Coordinator, National Control Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Sunday in Abuja.

She said the country lacked biomedical engineering companies with service centres where spare parts and appropriate personnel are readily available for the repairs and maintenance of the machines.

“If we can have private sector participation it would greatly assist government to move forward and crash the cancer indices in the country,’’ she said

She said that the ministry had also set up a high powered committee chaired by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, to resuscitate and establish more cancer treatment centres.

Ms. Hassan said the ministry is working in collaboration with the World Bank and International Committee of the Red Cross to provide additional machines to boost and develop Cancer centres in the country.

According to her, seven of the Cancer centres would come up this year while additional seven will become functional in 2018.

She added that the ministry was also partnering the International Atomic Energy Agency for technical support for the proposed cancer centres of excellence.

The Coordinator said most of the radiation centres in the country are presently not working.

She said the centre at Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto was the only one working, adding that the hydro linear accelerator at the National Hospital Abuja would soon commence operation.

NAN reports that government would upgrade the cancer treatment centres in Maiduguri, Zaria, Ilorin, Abuja National Hospital, Ibadan, Benin and Enugu and equip them with two functional machines in the first phase of the programme.

On the establishment of the National Cancer Control Agency, the national coordinator said it is on-going and the ministry is at the planning stage for the Agency.

“While planning for the Agency, we have to carefully put in place the correct framework that will allow the agency work effectively.

“We are planning because the agency has not been in existence at all and none of its kind has existed within the country before.

“We have to network with some few countries that have similar agency and modify it to reflect our domestic needs,’’ she said.

It will be recalled that Project Pink Blue (PPB), an NGO, and other stakeholders had called on the Federal Government to establish a National Agency on Cancer Control to assist cancer victims in the country.

The NGO made the call during the commemoration of the 2017 World Cancer Day observed on Saturday February 4.

The cancer day is part of the World Cancer Campaign, which responds to the Charter of Paris adopted at the World Summit against Cancer for the New Millennium on February 4, 2000.



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  • Comfortkay

    Please send Nigerian abroad for training to manage the facilities and machines.

    • Du Covenant

      I think the problem is attitude, you can send as many people abroad as you wish, the same issue will persist. We are just not good at maintaining anything, even the homes we live in fall apart right in front of our eyes and this is where the problem begins. We have no maintenance culture in grained and that is the problem. These pieces of equipment are excellent tools that function properly in other parts of the world except ours. The companies that produce and sell them train people to keep them running, the ego of half trained Nigerians and the propensity to go beyond recommended limits damage most of these tools. NEPA does its fair share of destroying these equipment too. We are just good at spoiling anything we lay our hands on, planes fall out of the skies in Nigeria for the same reason, look at the fumes coming out of our cars and the smell of petrol everywhere due to poor combustion is the hand work of our mechanics, look around and see how our roads are maintained and the list goes on. The discipline to maintain these machines is fundamentally lacking in Nigeria this is why we are in this hole.

      • Comfortkay

        Bros you are right

      • GusO

        That is the point I was trying to make and I found you’re already made it. Nigerians never think or are not accustomed to maintenance. Highways breakdown without the various Ministries of Works maintaining them. Government owned companies such the Ajaokuta Steel factory and Coal Company at Enugu breakdown while the various management are busy stealing the profits made, some of which should have being budgeted for maintenance. Eventually, everything breaks down without anybody being held accountable. It’s a sorry sight. We could standardise the cancer equipment bought for our various hospitals by purchasing them from a highly regarded company and making it a condition of purchase to have the company come in to train hundreds of Nigerian HNDs and BSc engineers on the equipment maintenance. When you spend big money like that in choosing one manufacturer over another, you have leverage to ask for extra things. But Nigerians don’t think that far ahead because the various officials doing the purchasing are either thinking of how to work with the supplier to get kickbacks or thinking of purchasing second hand equipment for new equipment so that they can pocket the difference in price.

        • Du Covenant

          Precisely my broda. We are our own enemies while the rest of world is moving ahead. Nigeria Airways was killed by Nigerians at the whelm when Ethiopia is leading the way in sub-saharan Africa. These pieces of equipment always come with service and training agreements if you buy them new. In Nigeria anything goes and this is the result. The people meant to procure these tools see it as an opportunity to enrich themselves and only God know where and how they get them. I can guarantee you most of them were not acquired new this is why they can’t find the people to come and fix them, everything has to be as chaotic as possible in Nigeria and we are always the losers. If Nigerians are are not ashamed to tell the whole world that they import refined petroleum products, I don’t know what else can shame our leaders and the elite. Refineries were built in good spirit but Nigerians sabotage them all and we remain a laughing stock among nations. Asking Nigerians to maintain such complex pieces of technology will be asking for too much to be honest. We are not short of engineers, with plenty Polytechnics and Universities in the country. Attitude remains our biggest problem. As you suggested recruitment, we have brought in tribe, region, religion and all sorts of nonsense to the equation and competency is thrown out of the window at every step of the way. There is no country that allows public money to be wasted like Nigeria and you see it everywhere. Greed, corruption has eaten deep into our society and the whole country is strangled by these elements. I believe even God is fed up with what has become of Nigeria!.

      • thusspokez

        Very good analysis. Also, Nigerians don’t do or can’t do ‘continuity’.

        • Du Covenant

          My broda, instant gratification is the order of the day and Nigerians done care about the consequences of such short term thinking.

      • FEMI A USA

        I agreed with you on your assessments. Take a good look at Ghana.

        • Du Covenant

          My broda, we are in deep trouble in Nigeria. How comes Boeing is able to trust Ethiopia and lease its planes and not Nigeria with all its resources?. Attitude!. Ethiopia was one of the first few countries to take delivery of the newest plane produced by Boeing (787) worldwide. When you see how our elite behave why should anyone take Nigeria and Nigerians seriously?.

    • Karl Imom

      Nonsense! What is wrong with the Nigerian Society of Engineers? Are they still arguing about the superiority of BSc over HND, and university graduates over polytechnic graduates? All we hear from from Nigerian Engineers is how superior they are over the rest of us. They cannot design and cannot repair anything; so what exactly are they trained to do? We cannot successfully run a country by both purchasing and repairing basic equipment in every facet of life abroad when Nigeria has a very loquacious Society of Engineers at home.

      • thusspokez

        These scanners are not for anyone with engineering degree to repair as they contain radioactive components. It is for specialists and repairs are done only in a controlled environment.

        • Karl Imom

          Then, who is supposed to be a specialist in Biomedical Engineering? Are you even contending that equipment that contain radio-active components cannot be designed and repaired by engineers? Then what is the role of engineers in a society if they cannot design, and cannot repair?

          • thusspokez

            In your starting comment, you seem to be implying that anyone with an Engineering degree can repair medical X-rays equipments.

            In this comment, you seem to misunderstand what Biomedical Engineering entails. I suggest you look up any university course outline. It wouldn’t be their job to repair medical X-rays equipments.

            Further, these medical equipments come with very strict conditions set by their manufacturers. For example, that it is only repaired by their engineers or agents certified by them. Medical X-rays use radiation. You need special clothing and controlled environment to make sure that the radiation does not leak out, and that people are not exposed to it.

            True to form, the official at the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health is ignorant with respect to the repair of these equipments: Like you, he seem to think that anyone called engineer could repair medical X-ray equipments. False, their manufacturers decide who repairs them.

          • Karl Imom

            My friend, your excuses and outright convolution will not get you out of this. First, you failed, either selectively or out of ignorance, to respond to any of the questions I posed with respect to the role of your so-called Nigerian Engineers in the society. What are they supposed to be doing? They cannot design and cannot repair, so what exactly can they do as university trained engineers? According to the United States Department of Labor “Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare”. What is your own definition of a “Biomedical Engineer?”. I do not know what is your level of education but from this brief encounter, it is clear you have NO basic training in Engineering of any kind.

          • thusspokez

            Piss off! I have no time for ultracrepidarians — which is what many of you Nigerians are, but too arrogant to admit

          • Karl Imom

            You are a shill, an empty gong with no basic educational background to engage anybody in a constructive intellectual discourse. Petty Swine!!

          • Tiny Skinn

            Some of you are so lazy that you cannot read between lines. @thusspokez:disqus clearly talked about “equipment repair”. So tell me where your definition fit into this? At least, you gave the right definition of a biomedical engineer to be “Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with medical and
            biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer
            systems, and software used in healthcare”

            Where, in that is repair?

          • Karl Imom

            Read the thread before you come in with any idiotic drivel – Petty Swine.

          • Tiny Skinn

            why d insult for pointing u to the fact?

          • thusspokez

            In the first place, if the ultracrepidarian knew what Biomedical engineering is, why would he or she look it up?–Yeah from the gospel according to the US Department of Labour!

          • Karl Imom

            Petty Swine, Your argument was that, I did not know what biomedical engineering is, and that it has nothing to do with medical equipment. Under such display of stark ignorance, I had to refer you to an authority on labor and productivity such as the United States Department of Labor. If you were conversant with the concept of citations in research works and intellectual discourse, it would have saved you from further display of ignorance and stupidity on this matter. – Have a nice day, Petty Swine!!

          • Tiny Skinn

            @thusspokez:disqus wrote “True to form, the official at the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health is
            ignorant with respect to the repair of these equipments: Like you, he
            seem to think that anyone called engineer could repair medical X-ray
            equipments. False, their manufacturers decide who repairs them.”

            As a Biomedical Engineer, all I can say is that you are 100% correct! Neither the Health ministry nor most of these guys have any clue about medical machine repairs. They are still living in 20th century! I feel like crying for these people sometime.

          • thusspokez

            I am glad you know what you are talking about. Sadly, the typical Nigerian ego is so big, it leaves no room for learning. Like the ultracrepidarian that they are, winning an argument becomes do or die activity, but all the while, incrementally digging bigger holes and making a fóól of themselves.

        • Du Covenant

          The good thing about science is, everything can be learned unlike witchcraft or voodoo. Handling the radioactive material is not the issue but, so many components can be damaged due to inappropriate usage, the nature of our electric is a major challenge for these equipment. Nigerians just don’t have the discipline to maintain anything and you see it all around us.

      • Comfortkay

        Our Nigerian Engineer has not make a bicycle

    • thusspokez

      And you think that they will come back after their training? They will rather accept office cleaning and nightwatchman [oops Security officer] job than return to Nigeria. Who would blame them given how workers are treated in Nigeria? Low pay and irregular payments; no workers rights, etc.

  • Otile

    Imam is not suffering from terminal cancer, is he?

  • isaac

    Check carefully, the expert trained to repair this machine must have left Nigeria a very long time ago, enjoying a fat salary somewhere else.
    More so, over the years, no one has paid attention to specialization in such fields as Biomedical engineering. Instead we have specialized political crooks who are busy milking the society.

  • musa aliyu

    This is a fat lie, fashioned to siphon money. Check Center r Energy Research, there are trained professionals, trained by the US to man your so-called biological equipment. Just tell us you are so wicked to give them additional training to handle em, because they are neither your relations, and/ or, they are not from your tribe!!!