How sugary beverages’ tax can fund cancer care – Coalition

Tax from sugary beverages can be used to fund cancer care in Nigeria, the National Action on Sugar Reduction Coalition has said.

This was made known during the NASR coalition on Sunday in a press statement signed by its representative, Omei Bongos-Ikwue, to commemorate World Cancer Day.

On February 4th of every year, the world unites to raise awareness on cancer issues, and between 2022 and 2024, the focus of World Cancer Day has been to help ‘Close the cancer gap’.

2024 marks the third and final year of the campaign, while this year’s theme, ‘Together, we challenge those in power’, encompasses the global demand for leaders to prioritise and invest in cancer prevention and care and to do more to achieve a just and cancer-free world.

Latest figures from the World Health Organisation’s cancer arm, the International Agency for Research showed that in 2022, an estimated 20 million new cancer cases and 9.7 million deaths were recorded globally.

The estimated number of people who were alive within five years following a cancer diagnosis was 53.5 million, while about one in five people develop cancer in their lifetime, approximately one in nine men and one in 12 women die from the disease.

The coalition said the growing burden of cancer translates to heightened demand for cancer care services, and the theme for this year’s WCD makes an important reference to the limited access to cancer care.

“Some of these deaths can be prevented by more equitable access to care. An important risk factor for cancer is lifestyle factors, including physical activity and diet. The consumption of sugary beverages is linked to increased cancer risk, in addition to other Non-Communicable Diseases. According to the World Cancer Research Foundation, sugary beverage consumption increases the risk of at least 12 different cancers.

“A cancer diagnosis often results in catastrophic out-of-pocket spending, frequently pushing victims’ and their families into near poverty. Fewer than 10 per cent of Nigerians are covered by the National Health Insurance Authority.

“Globally, there is consensus that universal health coverage is more sustainably and equitably financed by public rather than private funding. Important financing opportunities have arisen through pro-health taxes,” the statement read partly.

The NASR coalition added that the WCD presents the opportunity for the Federal government to accelerate action on taxing sugary drinks to reduce consumption and, ultimately, save lives.

“A comprehensive framework for taxing sugary beverages and allocating tax funds to healthcare can contribute to public funds available for accessing cancer care,” it stated


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