Cancer advocates under the aegis of Project Pink Blue have commended the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, for their cancer control efforts.
Buhari had recently appointed Dr. Usman Malami as the pioneer Director General of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment.
Governor Wike also commissioned a 26bn cancer treatment centre to cater to cancer and cardiovascular diseases in the state while Governor Ganduje built a new cancer treatment centre in the state.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer reported that Nigeria recorded 124,815 new cancer cases and 78,899 cancer deaths in 2020. It is also estimated that more than 70 per cent of cancer deaths globally occur in low and middle-income countries like Nigeria.
A press statement signed by the Communication and Social Media Lead, Project Pink Blue, Chika Joseph, noted that with the new government interventions, medical tourism will be reduced, and more cancer patients will have access to cancer care in Nigeria.
The Executive Director, of Project Pink Blue, Runcie Chidebe was quoted as saying “The cancer community in Nigeria is really excited about this news and we are hopeful that this appointment will mark the actual implementation of this cancer institute, an opportunity to drive national cancer screening, manage the Cancer Health Funds properly, propel cancer research and reduce the burden of cancer in Nigeria.
“As a patient advocacy organisation, we will continue to advocate and hold the government accountable.”
Also, a breast cancer survivor and programme coordinator of Project Pink Blue, Gloria Okwu urged other governors to emulate Wike and Ganduje.
“Presently, a greater percentage of all cancer services in Nigeria are funded at the tertiary level through the Federal Government, very little or none is done by the state government except the wives of governors. However, Wike and Ganduje took up cancer care and made commendable strides.
“With N26 billion, the Rivers State government built and completed Dr. Peter Odili Cancer, Cardiovascular, Diagnostics and Treatment centre to serve over 30 million people in the South-South region of Nigeria. The new cancer centre is equipped with three theatres, radiotherapy and brachytherapy machines, a laboratory unit and nuclear medicine unit.
“In Kano, the government of Kano built a new cancer treatment centre named Prof. Hafsat Ganduje Cancer Centre.
“The cancer centre is equipped with radiotherapy machines, chemotherapy suites, and laboratory machines. This centre will care for and provide cancer treatment support to over 50 million Nigerians who live in North-West Nigeria.
“These commendable steps and we hope other governors across the country will emulate Governor Wike and Ganduje,” said Okwu.
WHO infant health specialist Nigel Rollins, an author of one of the Lancet papers, said busy parents “lack the time to properly scrutinise claims” about infant formula.
The new study showed that “governments and regulatory authorities must commit the necessary time and attention to review the claims of formula milk products,” Rollins said in a linked BMJ editorial.