The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has assured of federal government’s commitment to complete the National Hospital Cancer Centre latest December.
Adewole gave the assurance at the Cancer Summit organised by Cancer Education and Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CEAFON)on Tuesday in Abuja.
The theme of the summit is “Funding Cancer Care in Nigeria: The Way Forward” and sub themes — “Cancer Management in Nigeria: Recent Advances in Breast, Cervical, Prostrate and Haematological Cancer.”
The minister described cancer scenario in the country as frightening, noting that the completion of the centre was part of government’s efforts to make cancer care available and accessible to patients in the country.
He said completion of the cancer centre would also assist in ameliorating patients’ plight and reduce medical tourism.
Adewole noted other government’s efforts to include revamping eight centres across the country, saying two of the centres would be completed and equipped with modern machines before the end of the year.
He said “cancer scenario in the country is frightening, so let me assure you that for once this administration is getting committed to getting things done. We will start treating Nigerians in the next four months.
“We are optimistic that in the next six months, we will make available six to 12 cancer treatment machines in the country.
“Between now and December, the Oncology Centre at National Hospital Abuja will be completed at the cost of N400 million.
“We are also planning to have chemotherapy centres to enable us to treat those cancer patients that require drugs, among others.”
The minister, who noted that radiotherapy was not the only means of treating cancer, said awareness creation was capable of preventing 40 per cent of cancer cases.
He, however, urged CEAFON to intensify efforts toward enlightening the public on cancer prevention, among others.
According to him, people need to have better understanding of cancer because 40 per cent of such cases can be prevented through changes in life style.
The President of CEAFON, Professor Francis Durosinmi, said the summit was aimed at adopting strategies to combat the fundamental problem of funding cancer in the country.
These strategies, he said, included better policies, implementation of adopted strategies, among others.
He explained that medical science and technological development in recent years had invented new and early ways of diagnosing the disease.
He said proper characterisation and optimal treatment of cancer in general could also be achieved.