The Federal Government on Wednesday in Abuja said it had allocated $60m for the prevention and procurement of cancer treatment machines through the National Cancer Control Project.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Fatima Bamidele, said at a press briefing to mark this year’s international cancer week that the measure was aimed at reducing the burden associated with the disease.
Bamidele said government was committed to pursuing the fight against the disease by adopting the strategies in the nation’s cancer control project.
She said, “In recognising the global nature of cancer, government is currently in a partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency to procure 10 cancer treatment facilities such as linear accelerators, brach therapy machines and nuclear medicine equipment. This project will cost the government $60m.
“Cancer is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in developing nations. In Nigeria, an estimated 100,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed, of which an estimated 11,000 new cases of breast cancer and 10,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed.”
Already, eight specialists had been sponsored for a four-year residency abroad.
Speaking on government’s desire to stem the spread of the disease, Bamidele said, “We are in the process of commencing the production of morphine syrup at the Federal Manufacturing Laboratory, Yaba, Lagos. This will greatly reduce the cost of pain medication and will enhance the quality of life of these patients.”
Meanwhile, a free test for cancer is to be carried out on Thursday (today) in Abuja along Garki International market.
The test is meant to focus on cervical, prostrate among other cancer-related diseases.
The coordinator of the programme in the ministry, Dr. Patience Osunobi said the exercise would involve provision of counselling and a seminar on the effects of the disease to the nation’s economy.
The Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Amobi Ilika, said state governments across the country had resolved to double their efforts in the fight against cancer by creating awareness and offering free test for Nigerians.
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She stated that unless succour was provided, patients with cancer would continue to remain silent.