Members of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalist (ANHEJ), during their 2023 conference in Akwanga, Nasarawa

Cancer Research: Institute woos reputable global organisations

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By Franca Ofili

The National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT) says it has engaged reputable global organisations that are into cancer care and research, to boost cancer research in Nigeria.

Prof. Usman Aliyu, Director-General of (NICRAT), said this at the 7th Conference of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalist (ANHEJ) organised in collaboration with World Health Organisation in Akwanga, Nasarawa State.

The theme of the conference is “Health Security: Nigeria’s Efforts to Achieve Universal Health Coverage”.

Aliyu said that very soon, experts in different fields of cancer care would come to Nigeria to discuss areas they can support the country.

He said that by the provision of the institute’s Act, it would provide national direction in cancer research, control and treatment, guide scientific improvements to cancer prevention, treatment and care.

According to him, the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, in December 2017, assented to the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (Establishment) Bill.

He said that the Act would also coordinate and liaise between the wide range of groups and health care providers with an interest in cancer.

“This development is with the understanding that cancer care and treatment need a multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral approach.

“Over the past few months, we have built partnerships and alliances with relevant agencies of government working in the area of cancer,” Aliyu said.

According to him, health journalists contribute to making the work of experts, heads of health agencies and governments at all levels easier through the dissemination of health information.

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“We value the important place of health journalists in conveying our messages on cancer prevention and treatment to Nigerians in all parts of the country,” he said.

Aliyu urged the media to collaborate with NICRAT to fight cancer through massive awareness creation, adding that Nigerians must adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent all forms of cancers.

“Statistics indicate that in 2020, an estimated 78,000 people died as a result of cancer related complications.

“Out of this number, 44,699 were females while 34,200 were males. It is estimated that there are over 120,000 new cancer cases every year in Nigeria.

“With these gory statistics, NICRAT is determined to work with all relevant stakeholders to disrupt cancer in Nigeria through intense awareness creation and improved access to treatment and research,” he said.

Aliyu said that the agency had mapped out strategies to geometrically increase cancer experts in the country through training and retraining of all categories of health professionals.

He said that the institute was committed to disrupting all forms of cancers and ensure that those with the illness have access to the best care and support in the country.

“The three documents include National Strategic Cancer Control Plan 2023-2027; National Cancer Research Agenda 2024-2027 and National Strategic Plan for Prevention of Cancer of Uterine Cervix 2023-2027.

“All these documents have priority areas of action that address governance, prevention, supply chain management, data and research.

“The documents also have surveillance as priority area which is in tandem with the aim of the current leadership of the Ministry of Health to improve the health of all Nigerians,” Aliyu said.

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He commended President Bola Tinubu’s administration for giving cancer care priority with the recent movement of the Cancer Trust Fund from the Ministry of Health to NICRAT.

“This will greatly improve the operation of the Institute to tackle all cancer related issues,” the director-general said.

He advised that Nigerians should pay close attention to their health by visiting the nearest health facility for regular checks.

“People should go for examinations whenever they have any abnormal feeling in their bodies.

“This will present the opportunity to nip in the bud any form of illness including all forms of cancer and also prevent it from escalating,” Aliyu said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Yakubu Uba/Bashir Rabe Mani

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