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April 23, 2024
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2,445 patients registered with Cancer Health Fund – Coordinator

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Coordinator, National Cancer Control Programme, Dr Uchechukwu Nwokwu, says 2,445 patients have registered to access comprehensive cancer care through the Nigeria Cancer Health Fund.

Nwokwu said at a cancer awareness summit organised by the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA), that over 750 of the registered patients had received funding support for their treatment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit, held on Monday in Abuja, was in commemoration of the 2024 World Cancer Day.

He said that the funding arrangement was made by government having realised that cancer was capable of impoverishing anybody.

According to him, it is hard for anyone to single-handedly afford cancer care anywhere in the world not just in Nigeria.

Nwokwu said even though cancer facilities and services were available in Nigeria, it was too expensive and unaffordable by many patients.

The coordinator said that they were pushing to get cancer care and treatment included in the National Health Insurance Scheme.

“We also understand that since not everybody is on health insurance, government has provided what they call cancer health funds, which provides comprehensive cancer care.

“As we speak over 2,445 patients are registered and over 750 have been funded.

“The fund provides for treatment, surgery, chemotherapy and therapy and it is at the National Hospital.

“The government also partnered with some NGOs and other sector players to reduce the costs of chemotherapies which are also very expensive,” he said.

Nwokwu said the government had ensured that cancer screening and treatment facilities were provided across the country, and taken steps to ensure that there was a plan every year to expand those facilities.

He added that the government had embarked on programmes to assist hospitals with linear accelerators and bacterial machines, and other facilities to provide adequate services and treatment facilities.

On his part, Prof. Bello Mohammed, Chief Consultant, Clinical and Radiation Oncologist, National Hospital Abuja, said prostate was the commonest cancer in men above 40 years in Nigeria.

Mohammed said that one in four men in Nigeria develop prostate cancer, saying it is indolent in nature with high morbidity and mortality ratings.

He said that some were caused by hereditary predisposition, adding that early detection was key to overcoming the disease.

According to him, prostate cancer takes about 10 to 15 years to develop meaning that those being diagnosed of prostate at age of 40 would have ample opportunity to access early treatment .

He said that the high mobility and mortality rates were because about 86 per cent of patients seek for medical intervention late. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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