NIGERIA: The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that 116,000 new cancer cases and 41,000 mortality cases were recorded in Nigeria since 2018. In Nigeria, cancer leads to over 70,000 deaths per annum (28 414 for male and 41 913 for female).
According to WHO, if keen attention is not given to the fight against cancer, the mortality rate and new cases are expected to escalate from 1,055,172 to 2,123,245 by 2040. Unfortunately, the Nigeria health care system is inadequately provided for in terms of medical centers and facilities, medical personnel especially in the rural area.
World Cancer Day
World Cancer Day is celebrated on February 4 every year. The Union initiated this for International Cancer Control (UICC) in 2000 to educate the general public about the danger of cancer, its symptoms, and prevention tips to reduce cancer mortality and infection rate.
An International Agency for Research Cancer noted that one in five men and one in six women worldwide are at risk of developing cancer disease during their lifetime. One in eight men and one in 11 women are expected to die from the disease.
Speaking to the theme of ‘2022 World Cancer Day’ Close the Care gap’ and sub-theme ‘Cancer and Mental Health, the President of Nigeria Cancer Society (NCS), Adamu Alhassan, said that lack of adequate machinery has significantly contributed to the increasing treatment gap of the people affected by the disease.
Alhassan also added that the absence of a workable healthcare system in Nigeria through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and lack of adequate financing of the Nigerian healthcare sector have added to the continuing problem of a surge in cancer in the country.
“WHO therefore recommends 300 radiotherapy machines for Nigeria, a country with less than ten operational machines,” Alhassan added.
Speaking to the sub-theme of the event’ Cancer and mental health’, the coordinator, Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Aminu Magashi, noted that the significant problem of Nigerians leaving with cancer is that they lack access to treatment facilities, and that has post more challenges in eradicating the disease in Nigeria.
Magashi was represented by AHBN’s senior program and partnership officer, Obinna Onuoha, who added that medical officials must provide proper facilities and treatment to people with cancer. Nigeria’s government must do all it can to tackle laws that will enhance unacceptable practices, which have increased cancer-related problems.