The Nigeria Cancer Society has said that the 10 radiotherapy machines being used to treat cancer patients in Nigeria is not enough given the high number of cancer patients in the country.
Dr Adamu Alhassan, President of the Society stated this to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day.
WikkiTimes understands that the Northern Part of the country which housed the largest population distribution in the country, has only one functional cancer treatment center at the National Hospital Abuja.
Formerly, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital used to be the reference point for cancer patients in Northern Nigeria, it has long been inoperative for years.
He said the poor distribution of cancer treatment centres coupled with the level of poverty in the country, thousands of cancer patients in Nigeria cannot afford the services rendered in the few hospitals offering Oncology services.
The gap is further widened when we take into cognizance of the poverty level (above 40 percent), the percentage of rural dwellers (above 49 percent) coupled with the lack of comprehensive health coverage through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and inadequate budgetary provision for health which is 5 percent of the consolidated budget as opposed to the agreed 15 percent by AU countries.
“It is clear that even though the approved tax is way below our expectations, we remain optimistic that subsequent reviews will reflect an upward review of these taxes for the benefit of Nigerians in terms of health outcomes,” he added.
It also called for a timely national rollout of the HPV vaccination campaign towards the elimination of cervical cancer.
While calling for prompt implementation and sustainability of the Cancer Health Fund that covers the three commonest cancers breast, cervical and prostate, the society called for increased budgetary allocation to the health sector in line with the 2001 Abuja declaration of allocating at least 15 percent of the annual budget to the health sector.
Ameh Zion Abba, Founder of the Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative MHEI said about 8-24 percent of people with cancer are also living with depression.
He said cancer diagnosis and treatment could give rise to considerable mental health issues for individuals, such as anxiety and depression.
He said untreated mental health problems in cancer patients could lead to destructive consequences including decreased treatment adherence, decreased survival rate, increased healthcare cost, and poor quality of life.