An innovative response to cancer care through a multidisciplinary committee of diverse specialisation is being pioneered at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abuja, under the leadership of Tessy Ahmadu, a radiation oncologist and nuclear physician.
This new approach is expected to significantly move the needle for Nigeria’s estimated 116,000 cancer patients and about 70,000 who die annually.
Elaborating on this new initiative Thursday at the hospital’s complex, Ms Ahmadu said the main objective of multidisciplinary approach is to provide effective coordinated cancer care for the benefits of patients and the hospital.
“Once cancer care is not coordinated, it affects the final outcome,” Ms Ahmadu said, drilling holes in current practice which ignores the nonlinear and multiple care needs of patients.
An excited Saad Ahmed, the medical director, FMC Abuja, in approving the proposal, said the hospital management will offer adequate support to the team including the opportunity to incorporate research component into its work.
Admitting that FMC Abuja may not have sufficient specialists, Mr Ahmed said he is already training his sight at a training and retraining programme which will attract new talents to compliment specialists on the ground.
“For now, we can make use of the specialists we have on ground and of course once we have the waiver for recruitment, we will see how we can fill up in that regard. We will also look at areas of training and retraining of those currently in service,” he said.
Mr Ahmed also spoke of other expansion and development programmes of the hospital including plans to acquire radiotherapy machines and capabilities.
“We have chemotherapy drugs available, the Oncologist is on ground doing her work with other cancer specialists. In terms of having radiotherapy machines, we do not have yet but it is something that we hope to get in not too distant future,” he added.
He said the hospital will be looking to government agencies who can come to their aid to help procure these equipment. However, if that fails, it will be added to the hospital’s budget for the next year.
Concluding, Mr Ahmed said there needs to be more awareness around issues of cancer in the country as well as the right policies to improve cancer management.
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